The Meaning Of The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

952 words - 4 pages

The story of “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gillman is the story of a woman who is mentally ill. She is being taken care of by her husband who is a doctor. They have just moved into a new house where she has her own room. Her room is only a bed that is nailed to the floor, and the room is covered in a gaudy and strange yellow wallpaper.After moving into the room the woman, who is also the narrator of the story, starts to see very strange things. She believes that there is a woman trying to escape from the wallpaper. She also starts to see other women “creeping” around the walkways outside. The narrator is disturbed by the wallpaper, and she has the urge to tear it all down. As she begins to tear it down her husband scolds her not to tear it down as to not give in to every whim that she has. As she proceeds to tear down the wallpaper, against her husband’s wishes, she believes that she is releasing the woman that is trapped inside of the wallpaper. The story ends with the woman’s husband breaking down the door to find her creeping around the wallpaperless room. After witnessing this the husband proceeds to faint as the wife continues to creep around the room.
At face-value of this story is the showing of false ideas and insanities of a woman who is mentally ill. The people that are portrayed in this story by the narrator are the narrator, her husband John, and the sister-in-law and housekeeper Mary. The conflict of this short story is the struggle to stay within the grip of reality.
There is an underlying meaning in this story. The one that has been picked up by some readers is the idea that the narrator, the mentally ill woman, is the woman that is trapped inside of the wall paper. The woman in the wallpaper is trapped and is trying to escape. This is very similar to the situation of the narrator.They are two women trapped beyond their own power. The narrator sees herself in the wallpaper moving the wallpaper trying to escape, but she only knows that she is the woman subconciously. The wallpaper may also be perceived as the husband. Both are imprisoning the women.
The author put this idea in this story because he wanted to put into his work the idea of entrapment, and the effect it has on the mind of the mentally unstable.The author is trying to portray this this woman as the beaten down housewife. She has been kept so sheltered by the husband that she feels she needs to escape him and do her own thing, and her own thing is creeping. The husband is portrayed by the author as a...

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