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The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman - Essay Example

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Sebastian 1 The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” shows the readers what happens when a woman is not allowed any mental stimulus or creative expression. The narrator in the story is manipulated by her husband, John…
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The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
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Download file to see previous pages By taking her away from things that are important to her, such as her ability to read and write, John causes the narrator to become insane. Although The Yellow Wallpaper has all the elements of a fictional short story such as plot, setting, characters and a common point of view, the story gives us an insight into the author’s world and time, especially the subjugated role of woman in the 19th century. Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” begins when the main character, an unnamed woman, her husband, their newborn baby and her sister-in-law go to a rented summer house. The house, especially the room the narrator stays in, is the setting of the story. The story takes place at about the time it was written, the late 19th century. At the beginning of the story, the narrator is suffering from postpartum depression, and the summer house will function as a place for her to recuperate. The narrator feels uneasy in the rented mansion and wishes to spend her time writing and socializing. She is of the opinion that activity and interesting work will help her condition. However, the narrator’s physician husband, John, forbids her from engaging in any type of physical activity and does not even allow her to see her baby. This causes the narrator to feel lonely and bored. The conflict results in the narrator’s repression. She begins her secret journal, Sebastian 2 writing about her thoughts. As the narrator is forced to lie in bed all day and rest, she becomes entranced by the yellow wallpaper in her room and tries to decode its design. First, the narrator sees the wallpaper as ugly. Next, she sees patterns and shapes in it and finally, she sees a woman trapped behind it and trying desperately to get out from it. The climax of the story is when the narrator who has gone completely crazy, tears off the wallpaper so that she can never be put back into her prison. When John comes home, he finds the door to his bedroom locked. Later, John sees his wife creeping on the floor and faints. At the conclusion of the story, the narrator continues to strip off the wallpaper, convinced that she has found freedom at last. The narrator who is unnamed in the story is the protagonist. She is a new mother and the wife of a doctor. When she suffers from nervous depression, she and her husband rent a country house so that she can rest and recover. She is confined to a room that used to be a nursery. Despite her love for writing, her husband, John, does not allow her to read, write or engage in any mental activity. “He hates me to write a word”, she says. The narrator, however, has a different opinion: “Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good. But what is one to do?” (Gilman). The narrator is feeling trapped in a marriage that does not allow her freedom to express herself. Thus, she begins to write a secret journal and becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper. First, she sees the soiled, ripped and an unclean yellow wallpaper. Then, she notes, “But there is something else about the paper – the smell! …The only thing I can think of that it is like, is the color of the paper! A yellow smell” (Gilman). The smell shows the progression towards insanity. She is first bothered by the sight of the pattern and now the smell. Her mind has completely overpowered her senses, making her believe these things. Eventually, she associates herself with the woman who appears to be behind bars or in a Sebastian 3 cage. Her final act of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
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