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

Symbolism In The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1189 words - 5 pages

Symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

 
   Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" is the journal of a woman plagued with severe depression and the inability to recover due to her role as a submissive woman. At the time of publication, "The Yellow Wallpaper" was seen as a story merely about the perils of insanity. Even Gilman was proud to say it provided a wake-up call for the medical field and the families of women stricken with mental illness who believed solely in the "rest and ignore the problem cure." However, the short story was also an attack on the role of women in society at the time.Women, cast into the prison of acquiescence, were trapped between the rock and the hard place of doing what they were told was best for them and those around them and doing what they felt was best.

The characters who surround the narrator throughout the story symbolize the ideals of women and their roles that at the time, the late eighteen hundreds. For instance, her husband, John, represents the male role of superiority over the weaker wife. His inability to recognize the true problem of his wife's sickness and to deal with it accordingly is much like the inability of men to recognize a woman's capabilities to function in the public sector. His simplistic solution of plenty of rest and an abundance of vitamins to heal his wife shows the fantastical impression and lack of reality when it came to dealing with women. Bed rest, cod liver oil, and phosphates won't help a mental illness any more than patronization and arrogance would help sexual oppression. As doctors, both her husband and her brother represent, "the power that men possess over women...to prescribe what they may or may not do [and]...to diagnose-to name what is sickness and health, abnormal and normal."(King 27) As superior males, these men are able to tell the narrator what is wrong with her and what to do to fix it, just as they are in the position to tell her what is an acceptable for her to be and do as a woman. Similarly, the doctor, Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, mentioned in the story represents the social mores held upon women. He holds true to the simplistic view of mental illness of women and it's treatment, just as society holds true to the simplistic, domestic view of women's roles.

Gilman uses female characters to symbolize the beliefs of the times as well. Mary, the nursemaid to the narrator's newborn baby, represents the typical domestic duty of women. The fact that the narrator's sickness keeps her from fulfilling that duty shows that she is enable to accept the traditional role of mother and caretaker. John's sister, Jennie, who has accompanied the couple to keep an eye on the narrator while John is at work, represents the majority of women who accepted their place in society. She is there to make sure the narrator stays in her place, pressuring her to keep within the boundaries that John has set for her.

The yellow wallpaper is also a...

Find Another Essay On Symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

903 words - 4 pages : Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, many will not forget the challenges women faced. “The Yellow Wallpaper,” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s, portrays a woman suffering from a mild psychological disorder, known today as Postpartum Depression. The title of the story is befitting as it shows the psychological oppression the main character, whose name was never revealed, dealt with from her husband and the controversial

The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1531 words - 6 pages During the time when Gilman was growing up, women had defined domestic roles and their husbands were the dominating force. In turn, there were women who gained a voice and defied the oppressive male community; one of those voices being Gilman’s. Locked away in a mental and physical prison of her husband’s machination, the protagonist of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper is the embodiment of the struggles faced by women seeking

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1378 words - 6 pages “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “Turned” are both short stories by the American author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, written in the late nineteenth century. Both stories are based on a particular incident in the lives of two married women. “The Yellow Wallpaper” follows an unidentified woman who is possibly suffering from postpartum psychosis. She is put to “rest cure” by her physician husband and is locked inside a room covered in yellow wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1744 words - 7 pages The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman Charlotte Perkins Gilman's, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a partial autobiography. It was written shortly after the author suffered a nervous breakdown. This story was written to help save people from being driven crazy. Appropriately, this short story is about a mentally disturbed woman and her husband's attempts to help her get well. He does so by convincing her that

The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1252 words - 6 pages happen, she felt that she was in control when John fainted at the end; she says "now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall so that I had to creep over him every time" She wasn’t even frighten when he fainted. Self-expression is extremely important because each one of us is unique and different in our own way. Only we can define ourselves be who want to be. One might believe that “The Yellow Wallpaper

Feminism in "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

735 words - 3 pages After a long struggle to have some rights, women were not given the right to vote until 1920. For many centuries women have been controlled by men by being told what they can and cannot do. The story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is considered a feminist piece through the narrators husband’s words and actions, the environment she stayed in, and the narrator’s own words. The narrator’s words play a strong role in displaying

Schizophrenia in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

978 words - 4 pages Schizophrenia in The Yellow Wallpaper       Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s "The Yellow Wall-Paper," does more than just tell the story of a woman who suffers at the hands of 19th century quack medicine. Gilman created a protagonist with real emotions and a real psych that can be examined and analyzed in the context of modern psychology. In fact, to understand the psychology of the unnamed protagonist is to be well on the way to understanding

Insanity in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1742 words - 7 pages Insanity in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," a nervous wife, an overprotective husband, and a large, dank room covered in musty wallpaper all play important parts in driving the wife insane. The husband's smothering attention, combined with the isolated environment, incites the nervous nature of the wife, causing her to plunge into insanity to the point she sees

Feminism in The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1026 words - 4 pages “John laughs at me, of course”, The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charoleette Perkin Gilman, allows the reader to have a insight on the terrors a young women faces by her controlling husband, which eventually leads her to insanity. When analyzing gender differences between men and women in the short story The Yellow Wallpaper it became apparent that men have a higher authority over women. Charlotte Perkin Gilman depicts a short story about a young lady

American Individualism in The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

703 words - 3 pages can survive, we should not be thinking about just our selves. There is a story called “The Yellow Wallpaper” and is written by, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and it’s about this girl who was confined in a room by herself and all alone and she went insane. She began to actually think she was inside the wall and was looking out at her self in her own misery. This is proof that we as a society depend on each other as well as being an individual. A lot of

Social Criticism in The Yellow-Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1301 words - 5 pages Social Criticism in The Yellow-Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman Traditionally, men have held the power in society. Women have been treated as a second class of citizens with neither the legal rights nor the respect of their male counterparts. Culture has contributed to these gender roles by conditioning women to accept their subordinate status while encouraging young men to lead and control. Feminist criticism contends that

Similar Essays

"The Yellow Wallpaper" By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

773 words - 3 pages society.Although, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is not a ghost story, however, Gilman writes this story similarly to a ghost story because of the narrative form used. The narrator is a woman living in the eighteenth century when women were oppressed in a masculine world. Gilman, however, attempt to modify the male dominated society by having the narrator describe her transformation; the narrator's transformation takes place in the house where she makes the connection between her life, the house, the window, and the yellow wallpaper.Works CitedGilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wallpaper." The Yellow Wallpaper and OtherStories. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1997. 1-15.

The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1376 words - 6 pages sick and that they knew it. The narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper is one of the best examples of this self-oppression and oppression by men. Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a strong advocate for alternative methods of treating mental illness. Many of her suggested methods mirror the psychiatric therapies of today’s Works Cited Diagnostic and Statistical Manual . 4 th ed. Text Revision. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association, 2000

The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1406 words - 6 pages Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote The Yellow Wallpaper in 1890 about her experience in a psychiatric hospital. The doctor she had prescribed her “the rest cure” to get over her condition (Beekman). Gilman included the name of the sanitarium she stayed at in the piece as well which was named after the doctor that “treated” her. The short story was a more exaggerated version of her month long stay at Weir Mitchell and is about a woman whose name is

The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1291 words - 6 pages : W.W. Norton & Co., 2013. 478-489. Print. Johnson, Greg. “Gilman’s Gothic Allegory: Rage and Redemption in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’.” Short Stories for Students. Ed. Kathleen Wilson. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1997. 277-293. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 13 Mar. 2014. Karpinski, Joanne B. “An Introduction to Critical Essays on Charlotte Perkins Gilman.” Short Stories for Students. Ed. Kathleen Wilson. Vol 1. Detroit: Gale, 1997. 277-293