Yellow Wallpaper Foreshadowing

Improved Essays
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…
John tells her not to think of the outside world, conveying to her that “with [her] imaginative power and habit of story-making, a nervous weakness like [hers] is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies” (Gilman 245). John is not only saying this to his wife, but also to the readers. Although he does not believe his wife is sick, he is insinuating that she is mentally unstable. She has a habit of making something out of nothing, which is evident when she sees the woman in the wallpaper. She also writes in her journal that she “used to lie awake as a child and get more entertainment and terror out of blank walls and plain furniture than most children could find in a toy store” (Gilman 245). Gilman tells the readers that even at a young age the narrator would see figures and shapes on walls that had nothing on them, and she would attribute characteristics to otherwise ordinary furniture. A mentally stable person is sure to see faces in inanimate objects, but those faces would not be enough to invoke terror and wariness into the heart of the viewer. The woman she sees in the wallpaper is only a manifestation of her mind, yet the woman causes the narrator to feel physical uneasiness. This blurred division between what is real and what is made up demonstrates the narrator’s unhealthy mental state. She is not able to fully differentiate between what is tangible and what she thinks she sees because of her deteriorating mind. Her …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

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