The Yellow Wallpaper Rhetorical Analysis

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Outline

Thesis: Gilman employs characterization; pathetic fallacy and symbolism to illustrate that an unhealthy environment can lead to psychosis.

I. This section contains a cursory glance of the author and her personal life through her literary works
A. The author wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” after a bout of psychosis.
B. Gilman uses three specific literary devices to portray that an unhealthy environment can lead to psychosis.
II. The first literary device, characterization, is introduced and discussed in this portion of the paper.
A. The unnamed character’s symptoms and experiences are carefully written to display her gradual mental decline.
B. She funneled her frustration into journaling
III. The author employs pathetic fallacy to
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This is a linguistic technique wherein the person 's perception of reality is altered in a way that reflects their existence. (Ruskin 80) In the case of this story, the lady projects her feelings of loneliness, isolation and segregation into the yellow wallpaper. The ladies dark path to insanity starts once she has hallucinations that involve seeing a woman stuck in the horrible wallpaper, yearning for escape. This portrayal symbolizes the narrator’s frustration; she herself is trying to escape the loneliness and isolation that is being forced upon her. Eventually, as her perception of her life degrades, the objects around her follow the same pattern. Items that were once lovely in her eyes gradually turned repulsive; this is exampled by her gloomy depiction of the garden outside of her windows, which she describes as “deep shaded arbors, riotous old-fashioned flowers, and bushes and gnarly trees.”(306) The aura of the yellow wallpaper degraded everything in the room that was pleasant to her own dismal disposition. The symbolism that occurs through the wallpaper is evidenced through more components of the narrator’s …show more content…
The wallpaper in the story depicts her longing for freedom. The lady describes the woman’s inability to escape, noting “she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern−it strangles so”(313). This portrays the woman’s isolation from society and desire to be free. In a similar manner, the pattern that strangles the imaginary figure could mirror the woman’s medical diagnosis that restricts her from escaping her confinement; it could also refer to the diminished women’s rights that she experienced. Additionally, her relationship to John, her husband, demonstrates the misogyny that prevailed in her lifetime. The woman is constantly disgusted because of John’s neglectfulness regarding her situation. During one instance she grieves, “John is away all day, and even some nights when his cases are serious.” She then expounds, “John does not know how much I really suffer. He knows there is no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him.” (305) These remarks display John as a symbol of restraint that results in isolation, confinement and segregation. Through Gilman’s use of these symbols and their real-life representations, she demonstrates that isolation can lead to

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