The Yellow Wall Paper : Language And Meaning

1379 Words Aug 9th, 2016 6 Pages
Language and Meaning in “The Yellow Wall-Paper”
Charlotte Perkins Gilman expertly molds language to emphasize her meaning in her short story “The Yellow Wall-Paper.” Gilman uses it to emphasize the societal critique of the limitations of women contained in her writing. Gilman illustrates the dangers of forcibly removing a women’s own autonomy over her mind and her body, and delicately composes language to showcase these consequences.
Gilman crafts characters that embody the typical archetype of her time’s woman and man within her characters of John and his wife, the narrator. She then juxtaposes them through the dynamic of their relationship as husband and wife. Gilman establishes a very evident power hierarchy that she emphasizes in the narrator and John’s relationship. The wife fills the role as subordinate to the husband. John constantly acts with indifference to the narrator’s opinion and needs, instead disregarding them for frivolous and irrelevant compared to his own view on the situation. When confronted by his wife, he simply laughs off her concerns and derails the conversation. The use of his seemingly sentimental pet names towards the narrator such as “blessed little goose,” “his darling and his comfort,” and “little girl” further constructs this power hierarchy between the man and woman (488, 491). John uses this diction to successfully erase any authority the narrator may have by reducing her to a place of subordination. The narrator’s concerns and worries are…

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