In "The Yellow Wallpaper," by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the protagonist symbolizes the effect of the oppression of women in society in the Nineteenth Century. In The Yellow Wallpaper, the author reveals the narrator is torn between hate and love, but emotion is difficult to determine. The effects are produced by the use of complex themes used in the story, which assisted her oppression and reflected on her self-expression.
The yellow wallpaper is a symbol of oppression in a woman who felt her duties were limited as a wife and mother. The wallpaper shows a sign of female imprisonment. Since the wallpaper is always near her, the narrator begins to analyze the reasoning behind it. Over time, she begins to realize someone is behind the wallpaper that is trapped and is struggling to come through it(Gilman). After the fact, she believes she is also trapped along with the figure behind the wallpaper. The narrator claims her husband John, whom sees his wife as a “little girl”, has trapped her inside the wallpaper also(Gilman). When the narrator tears the wallpaper down, she concludes the wallpaper was the oppression of masculine sunlight and has given her a new identity. As the woman inside of the wallpaper crawled around, the narrator must crawl around her room because the result of “feminist uprising(Feldstein).”
Gilman describes how the narrator’s creativity is being held from her husband John. Since the narrator is ill with a “nervous” disease, he takes advantage on changing her creativity and imagination by forcing her to sacrifice her writing skills. Her husband demands the narrator resume her job as being a wife and mother. Because the narrator is restricted to write, she focused her mind on the yellow wallpaper. As a result of repression of the narrator’s imagination, she loses sense of reality and believed she was the woman behind the wallpaper(Gilman).
Neurasthenia is the nervous disease the narrator is suffering from. Gilman expresses if the narrator is ill or if the “rest cure” treatment she is on is making her crazy(Wilson). Weir Mitchell was the authors/narrators doctor who prescribed her the “rest cure” treatment, which did not succeed(Gilman). The narrator tells her husband to help her and change the treatment, but he refuses her desires. As a result, the narrator became insane because her husband forced his wife to be in an oppressed situation with her health(MacPike).
Within the story, Gilman represents the domestic sphere as a prison(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism). The narrator is considered to be in prison but in a nursery because she cannot handle her duties as a mother to watch her children or a wife to clean(Delashmit). The windows in the room symbolize the windows in a prison cell. She feels as though, since someone is behind the wallpaper, she is being watched(MacPike).
The role of women in the 19th century was reflected in The Yellow Wallpaper. In the 19th century, husbands and...