Society’s Treatment of Women Revealed in The Yellow Wallpaper

1498 Words 6 Pages
Society’s Treatment of Women Revealed in The Yellow Wallpaper

Charlotte Perkins Gilman had problems. Most of those problems resulted from her nervous condition that was previously termed “melancholia.” She did not give in – Gilman was a fighter. Instead of bowing to the disease, she wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper,” a story intended to help other women suffering from a similar fate. Although this explanation reveals why Gilman wrote the book, it does not reveal the true intention of the story. This is not merely the tale of an insane woman. The narrator’s insanity is a symbol for Gilman’s commentary on the evils of social conformity with relevance to the role of women in society. The narrator comes to realize the inhumanity in
…show more content…
If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression, a slight hysterical tendency - what is one to do? (246)

The narrator is possessed by her husband. She is kept in a cage; in her torrid yellow prison with barred windows, barred walls. Her husband spends more and more time in town, seemingly ignoring the concerns and condition of his wife; as if by ignoring it, it does not exist. The home as a place of comfort does not exist for the narrator; companionship with her husband is lost. Her only real conversations occur on paper, as no one else speaks to her of anything other than her condition. She is stripped of her role as a wife, robbed of her role as a mother, and is reduced to an object of her husband's.

John has placed his wife in a prison. The disturbing stained and yellowed wallpaper is used, faded and repulsive. The color is one that is unwelcoming, uncomfortable, and uneasy; its color mirrors the narrator's relationship with her husband, and ultimately, with herself. The narrator is uncomfortable and anxious in the barred sulfur colored room where she is fussed over by her husband. John preens his wife, his possession, making the narrator draw further and further away from him. She realizes that her husband lacks the

Related Documents