This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

An Analysis Of "The Yellow Wallpaper"

1198 words - 5 pages

The story of 'The Yellow Wallpaper' by Charlotte Perkins is one of the most famous accounts of madness in 19th century literature; taking the form of a woman’s journal who is receiving treatment for mental illness. Through the journal, she records her experiences and her mental life as she descends into what appears to be complete madness. Perkins is keen to stress both the singular experience of mental illness and ways in which this condition is manipulated and exacerbated by those around her. I will make the argument that it is possible to see the story as possessing a critical attitude towards contemporary social and gender relations in regards to Perkins view of androcentrism.
Perkins stated that she wrote the story after a period of being interred for mental illness, and that she was only able to recover from this illness after having ignored her doctor's advice: “Using the remnants of intelligence that remained, and helped by a wise friend, I cast the noted specialist's advice to the winds and went to work again…ultimately recovering some measure of power.” (Perkins, 2009. 300) From the start of the story, Perkins describes an uneven relationship between her narrator and her husband. The latter is a person of standing and has a respectable social position. He is therefore put in a position of authority. This is made clear in the lines: “ You see he does not believe I am sick!...If a physician of high standing...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?” (Perkins, 2013. 76) From the start of the story, Perkins puts her narrator in a position in which she is surrounded by male authority figures who deny both her autonomy and her capacity to know herself. Perkins makes it clear that social decorum, which the narrator's husband in some represents, or at least guards, is responsible for exacerbating her illness: “I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes I'm sure I never used to be so sensitive. I think it is due to this nervous condition. But John says if I feel so, I shall neglect proper self-control; so I take pains to control myself...and that makes me very tired.” (ibid. 77)
From the choice of room to autonomy over her own feelings, the narrator is consistently denied the chance to express her own wishes and desires and to have them validated by the people around her. The sense of both duty towards and dependency on her husband is a dominate theme in the narrator's early writings. She expresses regret when she writes that “I meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort, and here I am a comparative burden already! Nobody would believe what an effort it is to do what little I am able, to dress and entertain, and
order things.” (ibid.) Here, mental illness is presented as both denied and caused by the social relations of which she is a part.
As the narration develops then Perkins is careful to...

Find Another Essay On An Analysis of "The Yellow Wallpaper"

Analysis of 'Yellow Wallpaper'

833 words - 3 pages The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a first person narrative about a woman with a mild mental disorder that because of an ineffective treatment and her husband's disregard for her true illness, grows into a serious debilitating problem.The author, Gilman herself, suffered from a nervous disorder similar to the woman in "The Yellow Wallpaper." She was diagnosed and treated with "rest treatment"; no more than two hours of

The yellow wallpaper analysis

1017 words - 5 pages the wallpaper is an elaborate manifestation of the trapped spirit of the woman herself. In the beginning, the woman in the paper is just a “formless figure sulking about behind the silly and conspicuous front design” (178). This is in direct correlation to the narrator’s state of mind and in fact, the skulking figure is the personification of her depression. Her depression is a shadow not overpowering or even fully formed but rather in the back

The Yellow Wallpaper Analysis

763 words - 4 pages Back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, not much was known about how to treat mental illnesses. At the time, many doctors felt that an appropriate way to handle such a thing was something known as the “resting cure,” which called for doing little more than “resting” by oneself. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s epistolary short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the main speaker writes of her reclusive treatment for her own mental illness. Throughout

Analysis of Charlotte Gilmans' "The Yellow Wallpaper"

1249 words - 5 pages The Yellow Wallpaper is a first-person narrative, which on one hand can be very limiting in what information is revealed to the reader. Not only can this single voice remember facts differently than other witnesses, the reader must realize that the narrator may not even be telling the truth. On the other hand, the first-person perspective gives a sense of "knowing" the narrator, by being able to read their thoughts. By writing the story as a

Literary Analysis "The Yellow Wallpaper"

672 words - 3 pages creeping about is symbolic of her hiding, sometimes in broad daylight, from a world that looks at her as an outcast because she doesn’t want to be a typical domestic ornament. Perhaps the yellow wallpaper acted as a mirror for our narrator. As she peered into the wall’s secrets night after night her vanity gradually became insanity. She knew she could not free herself in the world she lived in. Gilman has made clear that the narrator has

The Yellow Wallpaper and The Story of an Hour

1111 words - 5 pages “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin were published in nineteenth century and have similarities in some aspects. Both of the stories have discussed on the male-dominated society and the impact of the patriarchal society on women. The women in “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Story of an Hour” are being controlled by their husbands physically and mentally. They have been deprived the rights

Relationship Between Story Of An Hour And The Yellow Wallpaper

1224 words - 5 pages Family relationships, especially involving spouses can create difficulties and challenges for one or the other, in-turn could create an impact in their relationship. Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" are short stories centralized on the view of two married women, the challenges they endure in their relationships and coping with their spouse. Women wanting to have freedom, having to deal

Symbolism Of "The Yellow Wallpaper

2249 words - 9 pages Upon a normal and very literal reading of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper", the main character, a woman, appears to be a mad and raving lunatic. Throughout the story she rants and raves about the strange yellow wallpaper in the colonial mansion that she is forced to stay in for a short period of time while she is recovering from depression. She does not stop at talking about how strange she finds the wallpaper in the mansion

Theme of The Yellow Wallpaper

1023 words - 4 pages The Yellow WallpaperCharlotte Perkins Gilman's story "The Yellow Wallpaper" is an account of a mentally disturbed woman and her husband's attempts to help her get well by convincing her that continual seclusion and constant bed rest is the only way to cure her psychological condition. The woman is then confined to a room in which she slowly begins to go insane. "The Yellow Wallpaper" is not so much a description of female insanity as it is a

Incarceration Of “The Yellow Wallpaper”

1190 words - 5 pages goes against what she believes. "[T]here is something else about the paper "" the smell! ["¦] [i]t creeps all over the house" (Gilman 126) it is unavoidable much like the social rules which governed the era. More and more of her time is spent looking at the wallpaper; it has become an obsession, demanding her full attention. "This paper looks to me as if it knew what a vicious influence it had" (Gilman 121)! This yellow-wallpaper has become

Analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman

1019 words - 4 pages strong imagery throughout "The Yellow Wallpaper" to set the scene for the story and foreshadow the certain madness that is to come of the narrator. As the story progresses, so does the woman's declining mental status. An example of how imagery is used to display the inferiority of women is the fact that the woman in the story is confined to the old nursery room for most of her time. Gilman describes the room as "It was nursery first and then

Similar Essays

Analysis Of "The Yellow Wall Paper"

1190 words - 5 pages An Analysis of "The Yellow Wallpaper"One of the most inspiring short stories I have read was "The Yellow Wallpaper", written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. In this story Gilman uses the narrator's postpartum depression as a way to disguise the point she is trying to make. The symbolism of "The Yellow Wallpaper" can be recognized right away. In most literary works the problems or views of society are often included. Although Gilman's story reads as

Analysis Of "The Yellow Wallpaper"

1177 words - 5 pages Through a woman's perspective of assumed insanity, Charlotte Perkins Gilman comments on the role of the female in the late nineteenth century society in relation to her male counterpart in her short story "The Yellow Wallpaper." Gilman uses her own experience with mental instability to show the lack of power that women wielded in shaping the course of their psychological treatment. Further she uses vivid and horrific imagery to draw on the

Analysis Of The Yellow Wallpaper And Story Of An Hour

1111 words - 4 pages The stories of the Yellow Wallpaper and Story of an Hour are both stories that have deep meaning, and many hidden symbols. In both stories there is a woman who in some way is oppressed by some outside force and must find a way to overcome this oppression. While in both stories the main charcter goes through a different ordeal, The main theme behind these events are the same and the two experiences can compare to eachother. the events match in

The Yellow Wallpaper And The Feminine Struggle: An Analysis Of Symbolism Of The Wallpaper

1751 words - 7 pages are described in an unpleasant way. The word sickly and sulphur bring a bitter taste to the mouth. The pattern is intricate eye grabbing yet dull. The flowery pattern is actually the women. The sickly and sulphuric references reflect the harsh reality behind the pretty fragile feminine façade.The color of yellow can symbolize inferiority and fear. Gilman's use of the color of yellow for the wallpaper is reminiscent of the status of women's