Epistolary Narrative In The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Gilman

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“The Yellow Wallpaper,” written by Charlotte Gilman, is a short story that shocked society when it was first published in 1892. This work was inspired by her own life struggles. Having suffering through postpartum depression, Gilman became an advocate of the pitfalls of rest cure. Yellow, a color commonly associated with the joy eliciting sunshine, is also known as an anxiety inducing color. The color yellow that stains the wallpaper of the room the main character is confined to sets the uneasy mood of the short story, proving to be a color of apprehension. With an anxious tone, the theme of Gilman’s story is depicted as the downfall of solitude and repression of a women suffering from postpartum depression. The point of view and conflict …show more content…
An epistolary narrative is written from the narrators perspective through a journal or letters. This is key in analyzing “The Yellow Wallpaper” and discovering the theme because the reader must decide whether the narrator is reliable, or unreliable. In this story, the narrator is very unreliable. First, she is psychotic by the end of the story. The protagonist believes that she has escaped from the wallpaper that decorates her room. This is made clear when the narrator states “I wonder if they all come out of the wallpaper as I did.” (Gilman 315). Second, whenever the narrator mentions her husband, John, she is very contradictory. In one moment she is mentioning how practical John is while complaining about his trivializing of her illness. Later, the author says “Dear John! He loves me very dearly!” and reminiscences on how well her husband has treated her. Shortly after this, the narrator writes “the fact is I am getting a little afraid of John” (Gilman 311). The narrators inconsistency with her discretion of her husband is just one example of divergence in her writing. This discordance portrays the unreliability of the narrator, further illustrating her mental

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