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Female Oppression In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

961 words - 4 pages

Will women ever be equal to men? For centuries male oppression of woman has existed, presenting an interesting look at women struggle with physical and mental imprisonment. The environment and the people who are apart of ones life have an overpowering effect on the quality of other. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story, the protagonist is said to be struggling with nervous depression, and is married to a doctor who has suggested rest therapy in a summer vacation home. However, the narrator’s condition heighten and in response starts to see images of faces in the wallpaper of her room. The boredom and seclusion of this medicine only allowed her mind to endeavor farther down a path of insanity. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses the wallpaper and the relationship of the couple to expose the narrator’s confinement forced by the husband to lead her to insanity.
The story starts off with the narrator’s depiction of the physically enclosing aspects around her that has a great affect on her health throughout the story. The couple moves to a house, which symbolizes security. The house is believed to be a place where she can improve from her depression. However, in this story, the house does not feel like it is hers and she does not want to be in it. The narrator says it is “haunted”, (75) and that “there is something queer about it” (75). The house also eases her release, obliging her, her writing and her thoughts. When the narrator first walks into the room she says, "It was a nursery first, and then the playroom and gymnasium, I should judge, for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls" (76), this shows the reader how the main character thought of her room in the sense of her emotions dropping in this sentence. Moreover, the wallpaper has many significant meaning that plays a role in the narrator’s downfall. For one, the color itself represents happiness and light, which could not be farther from the truth and can be the malignant source that drives the narrator insane. She hated the wallpaper at first, however over time it calms her and becomes intriguing by claiming to see a woman behind the wallpaper. She goes to say that, “In places where it is faded and where the sun is just so- I can see strange, provoking, formless sort of figure that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design” (?).
The effect of the house upon the narrator can have many contributing factors in her decent to madness. In “The Home –Its Work and Influence”, that was also written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, she says “This confinement is not to be considered as an arbitrary imprisonment under personal cruelty, but as a position demanded by public opinion, sanctioned by religion, and enforced by law”(Gilman). This gives the idea that...

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