Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a feminist and a creative writer who wrote a compelling short story entitled The Yellow Wallpaper. Originally published in The New England Magazine in under her maiden name Stetson; feminism, individuality and symbolism are brought to the forefront thus taking the reader through the process of mental breakdown due to societal oppression and a paternalistic culture. Everything is filtered through her changing consciousness, yet the ambiguity allows one to decipher its many meanings. The wallpaper is a text that the protagonist has to interpret; as its symbolism develops she feels repulsed then obsessed.
The narrator and her physician husband have rented a house for a summer in order for her to rest and recover from an episode of depression. The narrator is ordered by her husband to avoid any kind of strenuous activity or overstimulation as it will only exacerbate her condition.
She begins to see a woman trapped in the yellow wallpaper. While those in the marriage practices prevent the narrator from having control over her own actions or what happens to her. These patriarchal ideas even prevent her from being to express her thoughts and emotions to her husband without fear of ridicule or dismissal.
The narrator has her own opinions about what is wrong with her and what she believes to be the best ways to improve her conditions, but as a patriarchal woman, she ignores her own ideas in favor of the ideas of her husband and brother. Several times in the story when the narrator does speak to her husband she belittled and her ideas simply dismissed.
As the narrator says that one must expect these things in marriage, it can been understood that this is how Gilman viewed marriage. As an institution in which women were belittled and their ideas ignored or dismissed.
Not only is this a critique in itself but Gilman underlines the point by showing that the ideas of a woman and wife are important and in fact are just as valid as those of a man. In the story the intended cure only serves to drive the narrator deeper and deeper into her mental illness.
Upon first seeing the room she is merely put-off by the yellow wallpaper, but after spending months isolated and surrounded by the paper she has a totally consumed by her psychosis.
This treatment was devolved by a male doctor, S. Weir Mitchell, to deal with what was viewed as a female problem of hysteria. In that piece Gilman explained that she once suffered from a condition similar to that of the narrator and was directed by Mitchell as part of treatment to never write again in her life Gilman Many times in the story the narrator says that she believes that writing you be good for her, but just like Gilman, she has been told not do so.
Gilman also uses the imagery and symbolism in the story to express her ideas concerning the patriarchal ideals of the time. After many days in the room the narrator comes to believe that the pattern on the paper is moving. She eventually sees herself and the woman as one in the same and explains that she came out of the paper As the narrator falls deeper in her illness she is able to escape the confines of her marriage and medical treatments, just as the woman is finally able to free herself form the patter in the paper.
I believe this is Gilman showing that woman really has no way to free herself form the patriarchal ideals of the time and that insanity may be such an escape. She continues this idea with the culmination of the story. Coming home to discover his wife circling the room removing the wallpaper, John faints at the sight of his clearly insane wife.
She is quite literally stepping over John and all his patriarchal ideals; as a woman she has finally freed herself. Works Cited Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. King, Jeanette, and Pam Morris. A User Friendly Guide. Com, Quiet and Retreat from Society.Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a feminist and a creative writer who wrote a compelling short story entitled The Yellow Wallpaper.
Originally published in The New England Magazine in under her maiden name Stetson; feminism, individuality and symbolism are brought to the forefront thus taking the reader through the process of mental breakdown due to societal oppression and a paternalistic culture.
A Woman Trapped: A Feminist Analysis of the Yellow Wallpaper The short story, the Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman can be analyzed in depth by both the psycho-analytic theory and the feminist .
The Feminist View of the Yellow Wallpaper The yellow wallpaper is a story about John and his wife who he keeps locked up due to her "nervous condition" of anxiety. John diagnoses her as sick and has his own remedy to cure her.
His remedy s to keep her inside and deterring her from almost all activities. What is feminism? A battle of women for the equality with men. The Yellow Wallpaper, written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in , which focuses on the problem of a woman gaining her independence.
Page |1 Lea Weller - Feminism and Symbolism in Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper. Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a feminist and a creative writer who wrote a compelling short story entitled The Yellow Wallpaper.
Using feminist criticism readers can analyze Charlotte Perkin’s The Yellow Wallpaper through Symbols, and characters. First, feminist criticism is used in the story through symbols.