The Yellow Wallpaper Woman

752 Words 4 Pages
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman is a short story about a woman who is suffering from postpartum depression. Her husband John, the doctor, is attempting to make her well by moving her to a colonial house for the summer while their house is under repairs. This story takes place in a time when women were confined by their roles in society. In her short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman uses narrative technique and symbolism to develop the theme that women are oppressed in their roles in marriage and society. Gilman’s story is written in a unique way. The woman suffering from depression is the protagonist who narrates the story through a series of journal entries, making her the first-person narrator. This is significant, as her …show more content…
The narrator obsesses over studying its pattern. She eventually thinks she sees a woman behind the wallpaper and describes, “The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out” (Gilman 368). This is symbolic of the barrier between women and their roles in both marriage and society behind which they are trapped. In this time, women were stuck in their roles within the household. Being a good wife, mother, and managing the house were a married woman’s duties. The men were the ones who got to leave the house, work, and have authority in their roles. Because of her depression, the narrator is unable to fulfill her role as a woman in that society. Not long after the narrator discovers the trapped woman, she is convinced she sees many women, as she states, “The front pattern does move – and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it!... And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern – it strangles so; I think that’s why it has so many heads” (370). Symbolically, the wallpaper is trapping women in oppressive roles, but to try to get out is strangling; however, the narrator is determined to set them free. In the end, she tears down the wallpaper, the barrier, and begins creeping around the room. When John finds her, she declares, “I’ve got out at last…And I’ve pulled off most of the paper so you can’t put me …show more content…
In this time, there was a certain role that women played and it was set. The chosen narrative technique allows the audience to follow the narrator’s thoughts and feelings of oppression and increasing insanity. Through symbolism, Gilman showed that marriage and societal norms trapped women in roles that they had no choice but to play. They were inferior to men and had to be submissive to their authority. Women needed radical change – they needed to get out from behind the wallpaper and be

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