The Yellow Wallpaper Symbolism

1953 Words 8 Pages
Without freedom of expression or equality, a person loses individuality, causing a person to question one’s role in society and eventually identity. Charlotte Perkins Gilman writes in the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” about how the oppressed life of a nineteenth century woman leading to the loss of a woman 's individuality. In the story, told through a journal entry, John confines the narrator to the nursery, due to her “illness” where she writes in her journal about her feelings of her experiences in her daily life. While in the nursery, the narrator dislikes John’s decision about her staying in the nursery and grows obsessed with the wallpaper, eventually tearing it down. Charlotte Perkins Gilman utilizes characterization and symbolism …show more content…
The bed is in the nursery where John made the narrator stay, in hopes that she would become cured of her depression and anxiety. She objects to his decision of making her stay in the nursery because of the horrible bed. The narrator tries to convince John to take out the bed and wallpaper, but he refuses. She becomes frustrated with John causing her to try to make the changes to the bed herself and “tried to lift and push it until [she] was lame, and then [she] got so angry [she] bit off a little piece at one corner- but it hurt [her] teeth” (Gilman 217). Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses the symbolism of the bed to express how firm and unyielding the roles for women were yet the narrator still aspires to become more than her role. The narrator becomes upset at John’s refusal to accept her ideas, thereby controlling her. Even by trying her hardest and ending up hurting herself, the narrator was only able to make a small dent into the post. The strenuous task for the narrator to move the bed symbolizes. She is driven to physically move the bed and defy the authority of John by almost hurting herself, which shows her desperation to take back her power. She is frustrated at how moving the bed becomes not just a physical issue with her not having the physical strength to move the bed but also mentally because she is not able to make decisions for herself. She has felt oppressed for so long that she has become frustrated with the male-centric society that she attempts to change. This symbolizes how without men women are not able to accomplish anything on her own. Loralee MacPike who is a critic of “The Yellow Wallpaper” comments on the symbolism of the bed by explaining the bed to be a symbol of “the immovable bed symbolizes the static

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