Symbolism In The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins

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The Yellow Wallpaper was Charlotte Perkins Gliman 's reaction to the rest cure that psychiatrist Silas Weir Mitchell had prescribed to her when she became depressed after the birth of her first child. Gilman believed that the cure had not only been ineffective, but had caused her depression to worsen. Gilman wrote the story to challenge Dr. Mitchell to alter his treatment of neurasthenia. Charlotte Perkins Gilman used symbolism within the yellow wallpaper to challenge the effects that the treatment for neurasthenia was having on women. Charlotte Perkins Gilman makes the setting in which the narrator lives symbolic of the oppression of women who were prescribed the rest cure for hysteria in the 1800 's in order to challenge the efficiency of …show more content…
As the narrator begins to descend into madness, her need to escape from control over her life shifts from her husband to the figure behind the paper. The attempt to rescue the woman behind the paper becomes the narrators main objective in life and is a symbol for her oppression and confinement. The attempt of the narrator to rescue the woman from the wallpaper represents how futile it was for woman to attempt to protest the rest cure. Because woman had such an infantile position in society, they were unable to protest how much pain the rest cure caused them. In the same way, as much paper as the narrator was able to tare off the wall, she was unable to free the woman behind the wallpaper. Gilman protests that by ignoring women 's needs and by prescribing the rest cure, the doctors were only doing more damage to women suffering from hysteria. Gilman finishes the story with a hyperbole. Gilman exaggerates the effects that the rest cure could have on women by having the narrator crawl on the floor from madness. It was a hyperbole for how the rest cure often worsened women 's depression. In her essay, “Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper”, Gliaman wrote that “I wrote The Yellow Wallpaper with its embellishments and additions to carry out the ideal (I never had hallucinations or objections to my mural decorations) and sent a copy to the physician who so nearly drove me mad.” Gilman 's embellishments make the story more effective at conveying her message that the rest cure is harming the mental state of women who the doctors deem to have hysteria. In this way, the wallpaper becomes a metaphor for the narrators mental state and helps Gilman to challenge whether the rest cure was the most effective cure for

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