Yellow Wallpaper

875 words - 4 pages

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English 1A23 October 2012The Yellow Wallpaper"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short story told in the first person by a nameless narrator who is supposed to be the typical housewife of the 19th century. However, she does not fit that role at all because she thinks she is sick, her husband John, a doctor, disregards her feelings and diagnoses her with temporary nervous depression. They are living in a summer rental, away from the village which John thinks will provide his wife with a picturesque escape to deal with her issues. The main character really doesn't have a say in what she does, and she must live her life the way her husband wants and is to never reveal her true feelings. Her one escape is her writing but she is not allowed to write because her husband thinks it makes her sicker. With no way to write, she becomes more neurotic and soon becomes obsessed with the wallpaper in the room. Gilman's use of symbolism of the narrator's inner conflicts reflects treatment of women in the 19th century and the way society tried to control or suppress their true feelings.One significant symbol that represents the inner conflicts of women in the 19th century and representing the way society "controls" them, is the way the narrators husband causes her to go crazy by telling he she has nervous depression. Everything the narrator feels, she is told not to feel, so she hides her feelings. She is only allowed to feel what her husband John wants her to feel. The woman thinks she is sick but her feelings are clearly dismissed by her husband and she can't question his diagnosis for fear of defying her husband."You see, he does not believe I am sick!If a physician of high standing and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary depression-a slight hysterical tendency-what is one to do?" (Gilman1).Gilman uses the woman's illness as a way show how men and society in this time period controlled their wives and that women were meant to be seen but not heard and how they were not allowed to show their true feelings or go against their husband's word.Another significant symbol for the treatment of women and how society controls them is the woman's writing. Her creativity is her rationality. She is trying to live by her own rationality instead of the rationality of her husband and also his...

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