What Is The Theme Of Isolation In The Yellow Wallpaper

966 Words 4 Pages
In “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the yellow wallpaper in the narrator’s bedroom is constantly mentioned. She has become sick and depressed as a result of the birth of her child, and the expectations of her as a mother, a wife, and a woman require for her to have the “rest cure” that is eventually her downfall. The wallpaper is an upsetting aspect of the room where she relaxes. At first it seems vaguely disturbing, something the narrator dislikes, but tolerates. However, later in the story, it becomes an inescapable prison within a house that causes her to go insane with isolation, yet that her relatives insist is doing her good. Though she tries to escape before it is too late, her loved ones unknowingly keep her trapped …show more content…
She becomes brainwashed enough to crawl against it. She appears to have crept around the entirety of the room, over and over, for much of the day. She creates “a streak that runs round the room,...a long, straight, even smooch.” (Gilman, 10) from crawling along the wallpaper. This represents how the narrator’s rationality has been destroyed by the rest cure prescribed to help her nervous condition. The birth of her child caused the condition, and since she must be a good wife and good mother, ‘taking care’ of herself for her family’s sake is considered her priority. This highlights the fact that the methods through which she does this are highly questionable. This is important because the rest cure is widely accepted as the way to resolve hysteria, especially by men who have not taken the cure, and the narrator tries to defy this. However, this is with an unheard voice. She attempts to tell her family she feels trapped, but her opinion is almost entirely ignored because of her inferior position in her marriage. This is an another example of being trapped as a woman, and gradually going insane with isolation. She comes to the point of almost finding freedom with insanity, in the room that had previously caged …show more content…
The yellow wallpaper represents the concept of the narrator’s gradual decline in mental state, and causes her emotional instability. The wallpaper is an aspect of her hysteria that the narrator cannot escape. Though she finds the affect almost insignificant at first, it becomes part of the inescapable rest cure that brainwashes her to a point bordering obsession. Her hysteria, along with the ineffective cure cause her already diminishing logic to almost completely fade, the inevitable result of being trapped in her level of isolation. This is important because the prescription is meant to help mothers with the condition that the narrator has, yet it utterly destroys her and her ability to function properly. The story illustrates the experience of living through the rest cure, and it demonstrates how the women who took it were so entirely trapped by

Related Documents