Unrealism In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

1120 Words 5 Pages
Imagine a home decoration so unsightly, so repugnant that even the destruction of the house would not be enough to erase it from the minds of those who saw it. Now imagine living with the horrible decoration for three months with no sliver of hope to change it. For the protagonist of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” this nightmare is a reality. John, her husband, forces her to go to an abandoned house for the summer because of her sickness and at first feels there is something wrong with the house, only for John to laugh it off. He takes her into their expansive room, and she is immediately disgusted by the rancid yellow color of the wallpaper. She keeps a journal without John’s knowledge, begins to log her experiences inside …show more content…
Although she writes her obsession with the décor, she “fails to recognize the significance of the comically grotesque texture of her tale” (Hume 1) and “assumes the grotesque proportions of the yellow wallpaper, becomes a grotesque figure, and, in so doing, transforms her narrative into a disturbing, startling, and darkly ironic tale…” (Hume 1). The diary, instead of being a form of catharsis, is detrimental to her health. The more she writes about the wallpaper, the more she becomes consumed by it. John demands the protagonist to rest in her room, which he believes would make her recover faster than if she were to do stimulating activities. 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. The diary logs the progress of the protagonist’s descent into insanity, while the environment, which is meant to keep its inhabitants in, contributes to this loss of sanity. Foreshadowing is incorporated to make her actions at the end of the story less shocking and more foretold. If these literary elements were not present in this story, it would not have as much as a physiological impact on its

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