The Yellow Wallpaper Symbolism Essay

Superior Essays
The Yellow Wallpaper
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short story that could drive just about anyone mad reading it. That was not the Authors goal though. Her true goal in writing The Yellow Wallpaper was actually to save women from going mad due to the resting cure which was highly popularized in Gilman’s life. The Yellow Wallpaper is more than just a fictional story, but a piece of literature that speaks on behalf of women and shows how much the female sex has been silenced by men. This silencing of females is very easily seen through, the main character’s relationship with her husband and how it changes, how the narrator changes throughout the story, and what the yellow wallpaper symbolizes.
In the beginning of the
…show more content…
Going beyond it’s obvious purpose in the story, the yellow wallpaper symbolizes many important things. One key thing the wallpaper symbolizes is the restrictions on women put in place by men. When the narrator describes the paper she says, “in the very shady spots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard,” (1400). The narrator may be picturing herself being trapped behind the bars unable to control her life and her health, but this picture goes beyond just the narrator. In this time women were greatly hindered in the world and here basically kept behind bars and were not allowed to make their own decisions in their lives leaving them feeling …show more content…
Through the Narrator’s relationship with her husband, how the narrator changes through out the story, and the symbolism behind the yellow wallpaper, the female struggle is shown very obviously. The Author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, never directly says her opinions about the female struggle and how women should be treated in society but shows her opinions and thoughts to the reader through character development, and symbolism. Through the narrator the reader can see into a world of insanity, and depression. The narrator although she is not one hundred percent trust worthy at sometimes really shows the reader what the world is like when you have no control over your life and you are on the brink of insanity. Through character to character relations, and character development the struggle women face in this time period is very

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    This relates to those who use “women” and “insanity” together because the women are described as rebels whom madness is nothing more than a description that applies to the gender norms in society. Society doesn’t view insanity as a desperate communication for the powerless but views it more as a form of rebellion against confinement. The fact that the narrator peeled the wallpaper away in search of the woman trapped inside is deeply symbolic and gives the reader a sense of how she feels about society confining her. The narrator says, “I’ve got out at last, in spite of you and Jane! And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back” (pg.…

    • 1165 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Additionally, feminism is demonstrated in The Yellow Wall Paper, where the author reveals how woman do not have the freedom to express themselves in the subtlest and faintest ways keeping woman away from their own delight. The narrator in this story describes how her freedom is being obliterated by her husband’s idea of woman not being able be intellectually equipped to obtain knowledgeable notions. The narrator realizes she cannot express herself through writing under any one’s eyes except her own, and says, “There comes John, and I…

    • 1297 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Generally modernist stories do not have a happy ending (Baym et al, 2013, p. 1847). Modernistic writers are purveying messages to try and break societies hold on their oppressive situations. Reoccurring themes I have seen in both The Yellow Wall-Paper and Street Scene are suppression of women, madness and the inability to find happiness without it being followed by tragedy. The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was the story of a woman who felt isolated by her husband and by society. The woman who was narrating this story, is so limited in her life that she was not…

    • 1022 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Unbeknownst to John, the room “perpetuated fear and bred paranoia” (Bak 2) in his wife, contrary to his actions that he thought would be helpful. The wallpaper is the most detrimental to her health, for she constantly thinks about it. Her life revolves around the wallpaper at all time. Not just one component of the house leads to the loss of her sanity, but a barrage of mentally taxing thought processes does. In conclusion, Gilman lays a framework for her story by using a personal document of the narrator, the environment, and foreshadowing.…

    • 1120 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The control the main character’s husband has on her, and the suppression of the main character 's writing and motherhood leads to the main character 's insanity. She frequently makes an effort to escape the prison-like room she is kept in, in order to remain sane, but her efforts are rejected by her controlling husband. The main character also tries to write her thoughts in a journal in hopes of relieving herself, but once again her husband disapproves of writing and believes it only makes her condition worse. This short story does an excellent job to depict the life on many middle class women during the early 1900’s, since this time period was very difficult for married…

    • 1256 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Gilman crafts a parallel between John’s disregard for his wife’s physical and mental autonomy, and the presence of this oppressive wallpaper. The narrator has no say over her conditions despite the fact that she knows her own self better than anyone else. This symbol of male oppressions elaborates itself further when the narrator begins to notice a woman creeping about in the wallpaper. It’s clear that her mental state deteriorates rapidly, but in this state of delusion, her mind fabricates a character that mirrors her condition. The narrator not only notices this woman, but realizes that the wallpaper traps her and she “takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard” with the intention of “climb[ing] through,” (494).…

    • 1379 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Additionally, it criticizes the Rest Cure, which was a common treatment for women at that time. Instead of taking the pain of women serious, it was often just trivialized as hysteria and treated with resting. However, the narrator of the short story does not want to be treated like that because she needs to act out her creativity. Secretly, she revolts again the system by writing her diary against the will of her patriarchal husband. This is the first step of her liberation from the prison of marriage.…

    • 1805 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    A symbol that is easily shown is that the woman felt trapped in her marriage, which was symbolized by the woman that she saw behind bars in the yellow wallpaper. People may say that John felt like he was superior to her in the way that he called her things such as “little girl” (Gilman 473) and “blessed little goose” (Gilman 470). This is not an entirely false accusation. The fact that the woman has a mental illness already lowers the reader’s opinion of her as far as superiority, and the theme of oppression in marriage is evident. Because this story is written from the perspective of the woman, it is easier for readers to assume that the man is oppressive and controlling.…

    • 820 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Yellow Wallpaper Argument

    • 1353 Words
    • 6 Pages

    “The Yellow Wallpaper” Speaks Out For Women’s Rights Charlotte Perkins Gilman, as one of the few women writers of the nineteenth century, did a remarkable job on developing women’s rights through her story “The Yellow Wallpaper.” She describes how women were treated unfairly and how women’s writing were unwelcome in the nineteenth century in the story to stand out for women. She relates the story with nineteenth century society to tell her audiences that women’s marriage life in the nineteenth century were pitiful and she implies that women should be equally treated as men. Gilman uses “The Yellow Wallpaper” as a feminine topic to imply how unfair the marriages were for women in the nineteenth…

    • 1353 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Feminist believe in equality for women in a male-dominated world in which women often do not receive the respect and consideration they deserve. This principle underlines Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” which concerns a postpartum depressed woman experiencing life in a male dominant society struggling to find a voice for her own well-being. The author wrote the short story after a similar event occurred to her in her own life. A close textual study of the story from a Feminist Critical Approach shows oppression for women using symbolism with mundane and horror to camouflage feminist views, conveys the connections between the horror story and the author, and expresses the fight for a voice as a woman. The Yellow…

    • 739 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays