Yellow Madness Created In The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1277 words - 6 pages

Intriguing things such as madness, hallucinations, paranoia, and depression are all traits that make a story memorable and interesting. However, there is more than just madness contained in “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Through the use of an unnamed narrator, Gilman depicts how women of her time were trapped by social barriers.
The innocent and seminally well to do opening of the story with a mentally “ill” women being cared for by her physician husband steadily digresses into a struggle for her to escape her bonds and gain her freedom, her social equality. The narrator is described as suffering from a “nervous depression--a slight hysterical tendency”. The treatment ...view middle of the document...

Nonetheless, true to the time and social constraints the narrator follows her husband’s wishes and “rests” in the house he has rented for them. The house is a creepy, somewhat dilapidated, and possibly haunted mansion. In the narrator’s words, the house “That spoils my ghostliness, I am afraid, but I don't care--there is something strange about the house--I can feel it”. The narrator was so moved by the odd feeling about the rented home that she told her husband but was given this reply “I even said so to John one moonlight evening, but he said what I felt was a DRAUGHT, and shut the window”. Of course, the husband disregards the wife’s concerns about the odd home and some unusual happenings. Once again this reaction by the husband to his wife’s concerns shows how the dominate force in the marriage is and plays of the idea of the women being weak and scared, sort of broken, and the man being brave, practical, and always right. However, as the story progresses the extent and reality of how “broken” the wife, and the social issues she is representing, are dramatically revealed.
In the rented home, there are many oddities, the most notable of them being the hypnotic yellow wallpaper that adorns the walls of the couple chosen bedroom. Of course, the room was chosen by the husband even after the wife attempts to convince him to choose another room. The room has barred windows, a bed that is immovable, and wallpaper that is an odd yellow shade with patterns of lines and shapes that resemble bars and eyes. The narrator describes the wallpaper as, “The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.” and “One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin”. This yellow wall paper soon becomes entrancing to the narrator, she stares at it and attempts to find meaning in its’ shapes, lines, and color. Soon she discovers, that the wallpaper changes its’ shape with the changing light of the day. “By moonlight--the moon shines in all night when there is a moon--I wouldn't know it was the same paper.At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candle light, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be”. I believe these lines and the idea that the paper changes depending on the amount of light shows the multifaceted behavior of women. Women acted proper while in the daylight, in the view of the public, they followed society’s rules. However, when night came, they were no longer restrained; they were free to be free in the darkness,...

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