Literary Issues In The Yellow Wallpaper

Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” is the story of a woman trapped. The narrator tells her story by writing in her journal. We never learn her name, but we do meet her husband, the physician. The narrator and her husband, John, have moved into a colonial mansion for the summer. She has been diagnosed with hysteria, which was thought to be a feminine disease. This was thought to be the cause of most feminine ailments because of their fragile mental and physical nature. The couple moves in their summer home so that she will be able to rest and overcome her hysteria. The yellow wallpaper is the narrators personified paranoia that is caused by her “rest” prescribed by her husband and seconded by her brother. The yellow wallpaper did not start the issues of the narrator. These issues stem from the life that the narrator is stuck in because of her situation and the time period. The three main causes for the narrator’s problems are: the men in her life and their need to control, her inability to express herself, and the house and it’s confinement.
The narrator is controlled by the men in her life. Mainly her husband, but also her brother. They both believe
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The yellow wallpaper room is her least favorite room in the house even from the beginning, with its “smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the sunlight.” And this is the room that she is forced to call her own. Because her husband thinks it the best room. She comments numerous times on her hatred for the paper. The reader watches her dissent into madness personified in this wallpaper. The paper causes the narrator to see certain things at times and then not at others. This causes her to question her own sanity and she never had before. The narrator begins to see a woman trapped behind the paper. As she loses touch with reality she realizes that this woman is in fact herself. She rips the paper off to free

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