The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

2203 Words Mar 2nd, 2016 9 Pages
Constant oppression and submission was expected of women in the nineteenth century, and they spent their lives being molded into the perfect housewife and mother, learning how to dote over a man and to please him constantly. The story of a young woman who was confined to a nursery for rest and the cure of her mental illness was first published in 1892. As her husband, John, refuses to remove wallpaper that disturbs her, she slowly becomes obsessed with it, and with what she sees in it. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s exaggerated autobiography, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the reader is immersed in a setting of disguised insanity and patriarchy through symbolism, and Gilman used her own life events to capture the emotion and drive of oppressed women in the nineteenth century through her narrator.
Similar to how the narrator was bound to the nursery and the wallpaper, women of the nineteenth century were bound to roles of submission by supposedly superior male influence. Gilman used the yellow wallpaper to symbolize the confinement of women in the present society, and dependence on their male counterparts. Much as women could not separate themselves from men, it was “impossible for the narrator to get ‘that top pattern… off from the under one’… impossible to separate the text of a culture from the text of an individual, to free female subjectivity from the patriarchal text” (Lanser 29). As the pattern intensified, the narrator noted that the women she saw were trapped in the under…

Related Documents