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Discuss a few instances of Symbolism in Gilman's Story - Essay Example

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The Yellow Wallpaper Discuss a few instances of symbolism in Gilman's story. For instance, how might we interpret the wallpaper with a nonsensical pattern? ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ uses a lot of symbolism during the narrative to demonstrate how women were oppressed in Gilman’s time by the men in society…
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Discuss a few instances of Symbolism in Gilmans Story
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Download file to see previous pages The wallpaper in the room in which the narrator is staying is covered in yellow wallpaper, a color that she detests. This could symbolize that the author has a deep dislike for this ‘disease’ in the society of her era characterized by the oppression of the fairer sex by a patriarchal society. Her hatred for the wallpaper, its color and design is actually a hatred for how men in that era treated women because to the author, the yellow wallpaper with its “hideous color” and “torturing pattern” symbolizes exactly that. The windows in her room are another symbol, symbolizing opportunity and that the narrator keeps sitting in her room and looking through them symbolizes a desire to make use of that opportunity and acquire much wanted freedom from the current oppression they face, freedom for women to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts. Another instance is of the woman stuck inside the wallpaper that the author sees creeping around, this woman is actually a representation of the author/narrator herself. It shows us how the author perceives herself and her current role in life. She feels trapped much like the woman inside the wallpaper and she feels that she has to ‘creep’ around like the woman in the wallpaper because she wants her actions to go unnoticed by her husband. Another instance of symbolism in this story is when she talks about the pattern of the yellow wallpaper which initially doesn’t make any sense to her. The author says “I never saw a worse paper in my life,” (Gilman, Charlotte) which means that she dislikes the structure of dominance and restriction that the men had created over women in that era by refusing them status equal to that of men and by treating them like silly “little girls”. The pattern of the yellow wallpaper signifies the complex structures in her life that have bound her in her current subordinate role. The pattern sometimes feels like bars to her and she feels like she’s stuck behind them and trying to escape. There is also the issue of how her husband and brother treat the issue of her illness. They regard it as if it were but a silly whim and ignore any input from the author/narrator herself. This symbolizes how in the 1800s men thought that women were inferior to them and thus so were their opinions. The women were thus largely ignored and their thoughts and views given no real notice or importance. The author believes that some mentally stimulating activity would actually help her come out of her depression, but her husband and brother give her opinion no real thought and on the contrary forced her to undergo the ‘rest cure’ whereby she was to be confined to one room and allowed no activity that would mentally stimulate her. This in itself is another symbolism, where the author shows us through the dynamics of her relationship with her husband and his attitude towards her illness an opinions how he (he here stands for all the men in that era) has ‘confined’ her according to his will and it doesn’t really matter whether she concurs to his ways or not. What she thinks is of no consequence because she, as a female is inferior to her husband and thus her husband “must know better”. Not allowing her any activity also symbolizes that the men restricted women’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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