The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Yellow Wallpaper.
The Yellow Wallpaper is a self-fiction short story driven by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s life events and experiences in which she describes the therapy of women in the interim of a rest cure recommended for nervous disorderliness by a noble specialist Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell. This short story illuminates on the submissiveness, obedience of women to a man’s authority that was considered unexceptional at the onset of the twentieth century.
The unmentioned hero of the book is unable to express what she wants and what she would love to do and satisfy her needs. John, her husband, takes her to a country house so that she could heal her condition. The reader is instantaneously aware of the snobbish attitude of the practitioner husband toward his wife. She is confined to a room that was previously used by the owners as a classroom for nursery kids and besides this was against her will. The room with the yellow wallpaper symbolizes a prison where this woman is curtailed of her rights such as intellectual works of reading and writing. In the beginning, the narrator subordinates against the constraints and keeps a secret diary. When John realizes this, she is punished, and her diary is brutally torn down.
Social interaction is controlled and; therefore, her total freedom is rationed. The husband sometimes is in other cities lecturing, and this leaves the narrator with emptiness in her heart and no emotional support for a couple of days. When he is at home, his talks are patronizing, and he ignores her concerns about her condition. This story clearly shows her role as being a subject of her husband and blindly believes that her condition is getting better. John’s self-centeredness does not allow him to see that his wife’s condition is worsening.
Jennie, who is john’s sister, manages the household epitomizes the encircled role of women. She indulges herself with adorning and looking after the kitchen. She unwillingly carries out John’s instructions to oversee the narrator’s activities, though she clearly knows that what the doctor orders is against the patient’s needs. She obeys the orders until it is too late to change the effects of the narrator’s condition.
The bold pattern depicted in the yellow wallpaper reflects bars that restrain the protagonist in her world of oppressiveness and depravity of her freedom. She is deprived of her intellectual rights, the narrator’s thoughts beg for the world behind the paper where oppressed and enslaved women wait hopelessly to be freed. Ideally she is one of the women who seek for liberation from the world of captivity and slavery. She thinks that the only way out of this world is to destroy the paper. Ultimately to her, this is her freedom from slavery of female subservience and male dominance
Analysis and interpretation of yellow wallpaper
In the yellow wallpaper, the author uses the imaginative story to portray how a woman is considered lesser in the marriage institution by placing her in fragile and weak positions in the society. Considering the time of its publication readers took the story as a horrible tool to portray a woman suffering from an extreme condition of consciousness (Bornstein, 98). The fact that readings of the stories have become more complex, readers discover that the story is more than just a woman the state of psychological torment. In the story, we identify a society of two classes. There are male and female classes, where the girls especially the married women are considered the second class citizen in the community. The society draws an instinctive division between the fragile and limited role of woman and active role of the man.
The story shows that gender segregation had an eventuality of keeping women in a vulnerable position that prevented them from developing intellectually and impacting the development of societies. John’s presumptions of being wise to make tormenting her at the hang of helping her to heal. The narrator has portrayed alike a child who cannot stand up on her own and without being looked at as disobedient and disloyal to her husband. The narrator has no power even over little details of family or life, but she just has to confine herself to her fantasy where she has control and practice her power of the mind. The psychological torment bestowed on the narrator more than the physical is what that is driving her more to lose her mind. She hides her worries so that she is seen as happy in the marriage, but the truth is that her condition is not getting better. The narrator is consistently hoping for an intellectual breakthrough and emotions even if it means to have a secretive journal that keep her feel relieved of her depression. This is what the narrator always referred to it as relief of her mind. However for Gilman, he says that “a mind that is kept in compelled condition is doomed to self-destruction.”
When we look at the so-called treatment rest cure for depression dispensed by Dr.S.WEIR MITCHEL, it is not strange to believe that Gilman methodized the story as an invasion on an inappropriate and horrible condition of treatment. The yellow wallpaper is an example that shows a mind that is subjected to anxiety and can worsen and brush against itself when it is compelled to inactivity and kept in hazardous work. To support this, Mitchel who is mentioned in the story had the doctor’s criticism at heart and left the resting cure beyond the ordinary comprehension. Gilman symbolizes criticism of any treatment that belittles the needs this poor suffering woman Jane, looking at her as the only docile object of treatment. The relationship between the woman and her husband, the patient, and the Dr. is clearly defined and since Gilman s power can be easily ignored though the man meant to help. Moreover, women who are timid and passive objects of such authority can be even worse.
The yellow wallpaper story presents irony in the sense that the protagonist uses the verbal irony more in referring to her husband: John laughs at me; of Couse one expects such things in a marriage. The obvious truth is that no one expects such kind of stuff in married couples. This irony is also depicted when the narrator says: ‘I am glad my case is not severe` at the juncture when it is known her condition is not any better.
Situational irony is another style used in the story. In this irony characters, actions have the contrary of what they expect. For instance, the doctor’s mode of treatment does not produce the desired effect instead worsening the condition of the patient’s depression and making his wife insane. Similarly, the narrator only gains her power and insight at the expense of losing her self-control and reasons.
Interpretation of the yellow wallpaper can be based on the fact that the wallpaper text symbolizes things that affect her actual life. This wallpaper develops symbolism across the story. At the onset; it seems only unpleasant dirtied and ugly yellow. The worst part of it is the confusing patterns that capture the narrator’s attention and tries to figure out what well it is organized. After a keen close look at the paper, she notices other patterns behind the main patterns that are visible only from certain angles. Finally, these models appearing from behind other patterns comes into a clear focus on a sad woman constantly trying to disentangle herself and to look for a way to escape from the central pattern. The writer sees these patterns resembling bars of a cage. The narrator is so anxious about the cage that is much festooned with many heads of women crying and struggling to escape; apparently the wallpaper represents the setting of the society’s traditions whereby the narrator comes to light and notices she is trapped in, and she is forcefully struggling to free herself.
The narrator tone is in a condition of anxiety for most of his stories encompassed with flashes of sarcasm, anger and desperation. When we analyze this story we I identify elements such as major conflicts, rising actions, the climax of the action and falling action. The major conflicts arise when there is an intense conflict between her (the narrator) and her husband over the issue of her treatment. This stirs up the psychological conflict in her between her growing comprehensions of her powerlessness and her power to gain her awareness.
Rising action is depicted in the fact that the narrator keeps a secret journal that expresses her animosity for the wallpaper in her bedroom. This disgust about the wallpaper gradually accentuates into an obsession.
Finally, the climax and falling actions are seen at last when the narrator identifies her real position in the society, and she realizes that she is the woman trapped and imprisoned behind the wallpaper patterns. The falling action is now evident when the narrator has discovered herself as the woman in the wallpaper. She puts her efforts in escaping from such slavery, and her husband realizes this and as results he collapses and the woman crawls over his body.
The dominant theme identified in the story is the submissiveness of women in marriage. This issue has been addressed in many writings (Bornstein 263)
This is evident by the fact that at the onset of the story the narrator accepts the treatment her husband has ordered for her. In the end, she becomes antagonistic and resentful .she says that “I do not want to go out, and I do not want anybody to come in until John comes. I want to astonish him “this is evident enough to prove the fact that despite her resentful feelings about her husband’s treatment and her conditions, she still obeys the instructions from her husband and. Therefore, she is submissive to her master husband.
Gender is another imperative theme Identified in the story yellow wallpaper. This is seen as the reason for the narrator’s confinement is her situation of being a female. There are some stories written on gender by Gilman in the late (1800s). The narrator’s incarceration and oppression are particularly based on her gender. The women portrayed in the story expected by the society to be obedient to their husbands and be subjects of fulfillment at homes while the men hold respectable ranks in the society such as physicians.
The fact that the narrator`s name is unmentioned supports the impression that she is taking up a collective voice of women instead of her voice alone as an individual (Money, 68).
The style of the story yellow wallpaper is written the first-person number comprising of both the present and past tenses. The narrator focuses on the present tense but describes the conversations and happenings in the past tense. The title wallpaper is another style presented in the form of symbolism. The title is the wallpaper embedded in the walls of the room, and the narrator’s eyes are glued to it for several hours. She is typically trapped in that room with nothing constructive to do with her husband who is her doctor does not allow her to do anything intellectual. As a result, he stares at the patterns for longer hours, and she gets more interested and finally is obsessed with it. The narrator removes the wallpaper in the room and starts walking around the room claiming to be free. When her husband finds her, he is shocked and falls. The narrator walks over his body claiming she is finally free. However, is the narrator truly free and how does the removal of the wallpaper from the wall translates to freedom?
My answer is no because she is still creeping around the room instead of going out of it. Besides, her mind is now insane. At this point, there several questions arising regarding the interpretation of the act of the narrator’s husband fainting. I could firmly believe that this action brings in the state of symmetry in the story concerning the gender equality. John’s act of painting manifests the state of famine weakness in the character of a story. This indeed provides the degree of the state of balance regarding the theme “gender equality”. In my personal point of view, the act could bring forth the argument that both genders could have the same opportunity because John has turned out to be a woman and this enslaved woman has gained liberation.
Locked away in a mental detention of her husband’s conspiracy, the hero of the story “The Yellow Wallpaper” is the avatar of the attempts encountered by women in seeking of mind liberation. Where others would view this as a psychological close shave of kids, it is with a strong believe in saying that a feminist standpoint is a commentary on the condition of females in the society in the late 1800s, and conceivably even of the author’s own hassles with a corporation manned by males ,(Gilman,67). This theme is made open through the portrayal of John as being against the intellectual activities of Jane his wife and the environment and position in which she is placed. Joined, these elements represent the confinement of women and dominance of men power over the women.As a whole, this story is used as an engine for showing the author’s feminist perspective, regains her sanity. Does John regain his cognizance back? Does she get tired of crawling? This demonstrates the physical and mental challenges encountered by women in this particular period. These notions are manifested through the actions of John, the brainwork of the narrator, and the context of the story this story, Gilman talks of the confinement and intellectual endeavors placed on women by society. In her personal standpoint, gender roles must be eradicated from the stratum for women to ever liberated. This is the edge of the story because the characters end their play at this point. It looks a bit queer as a conclusion, nevertheless, as it does not exactly wind up loose ends. For example, we are awed if Jane ever doesn’t seem like an end at all, but indeed the story ends in that mode.
Bibliography of the author
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who is an author, was a strident feminist theorist who spent her life advocating for women rights, dress reforms and modern social life of women. His book”women and economics “1998 to address the independent women position in the society. This established her as one of the propounding feminist theorists of the generation of her time. He did a lot more on gender identities and sexual expression basing on clothing and fashion.
Books were written include.
Rudd, Jill. Charlotte Perkins Gilman Optimist Reformer. Iowa City: U of Iowa, 1999. Print.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. His Religion and Hers: A Study of the Faith of Our Fathers and the Work of Our Mothers. Westport, Conn.: Hyperion, 1976. Print.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, andAnn J. Lane. Herland. New York: Pantheon, 1979.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: An Autobiography. Madison, Wis.: U of Wisconsin, 1991. Print.Top of Form
Bottom of FormGilman, Charlotte Perkins, and Denise D. Knight. The Abridged Diaries of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Charlottesville: U of Virginia, 1998. Print.
The yellow wallpaper book was written at the time of “the new woman” a transformable time in America history and literary history. Changes had occurred, and this had challenged the inequalities between the sexes. This had led to a vast sphere of women due to the changes in the roles of gender. During that era, industries had emerged and grew to provide opportunities and advancements that stimulated the facilitation of sex roles and qualities. That is why, came up a name of the group “the woman in question”. However, the conservatives actively fought back to maintain their status quo, and they were backed up by the separate doctrine that emerged from the industrial revolution. All these events called for the awareness of women spearheaded by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Gilman advocated for equal education, equal opportunity and rejected the notion that stereotypes women as fragile, weak and dependent beings in the society. Considering all these events, the yellow wallpaper was written as an n avenue of creating the awareness among women to realize how enslaved they are in the society. They need to push their way out to the world of captivity, and this is clearly demonstrated by the narrator, Jane calling for freedom .she moves from the patterns on the wallpaper and claims to be free. To sum up it all, we, therefore, say that the historical events that had happened to facilitate the writing and publishing of the book ‘m the yellow wallpaper.”
Money, J., & Ehrhardt, A. Man & woman, boy & girl: The differentiation and dimorphism of gender identity from conception to maturity (6th Pr. Ed.). Baltimore [etc.: The John Hopkins University Press (1977).
Bornstein, Robert F. The Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender Role. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2002. Print.
The Oppression of Black Women in Apartheid South Africa. S.l.: United Nations, 1981.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. Women and Economics a Study of the Economic Relation between Men and Women as a Factor in Social Evolution. Berkeley, Calif.: U of California, 1998. Print.
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