The Yellow Wallpaper is a novel by Charlotte Perkins Gilman that was first published in 1892. The book is considered an important work of American literature, and it has been translated into many languages. The novel tells the story of a woman who is suffering from mental illness and is confined to a room in her home. The story is narrated by the woman’s husband, who is a doctor. The theme of the novel is the oppression of women, and it is considered to be one of the first feminist novels. The book has been adapted into several film and stage productions.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” follows a woman slowly descending into madness. The narrator is so separated from reality that she forgets she is in an asylum. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s background, she has had times when she was depressed which led her husband to suggest seeing a doctor. This doctor then told her to limit her intellectual life by two hours a day.
The narrator is not pleased with this and airily dismisses the idea, but after some time she realizes that her husband is right and agrees to go. The next thing we know, the family has moved into a temporary house for the summer so that the narrator can “get well”. The wallpaper in the room becomes a symbol of her mental state as she becomes more and more obsessed with it, seeing figures in it and eventually coming to believe that there is a woman trapped behind it. Themes of freedom, oppression, and sanity versus insanity are explored in depth in this novel.
The narrator’s confinement is suggested by three clues that Gilman provides us, the first of which is that he keeps repeating himself. The house, the room, and the characters who are in it all provide details about themselves to the reader.
The narrator is never named, but we can assume she is a woman because of the pronouns used throughout the story. The fact that she has a husband who is a doctor also suggests that she comes from a wealthy background. The house they are living in during the summer is described as “a colonial mansion, a hereditary estate,” which would be expensive to maintain.
The room where the narrator is confined is said to have ” barred windows” and “heavy bolted doors.” These details make it seem more like a prison than a home. The characters in the story also act strange. The narrator’s husband, John, seems more interested in his work than in his wife. He is always telling her what to do and what not to do.
The woman in the wallpaper, who may or may not be real, is also strange. She is always creeping around the room, and the narrator feels like she is watching her. The fact that the story is written in first person point of view also makes it seem as if we are seeing things from the narrator’s perspective, which could be biased or unreliable. All of these details suggest that the narrator is in an insane asylum instead of a colonial mansion.
In the room, in particular. The most significant clue is represented by the space. “It was originally a nursery and then a playroom and gymnasium,” she states. I should judge; for the windows are barred for small children, and there are rings and gadgets in the walls.” (309) This implies that bars have been put on the glass to keep patients safe from harm.
The rings and things in the walls also, tell us that there are places for people to hang themselves or other such devices. The room is a place where people come to get better but, it could also be a place where they go insane. The wallpaper becomes the most important clue when Charlotte Perkins Gilman writes, “The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.” (309)
The color of the wallpaper is significant because it is not a pleasant color. The color yellow is often associated with madness or craziness. So, the color of the wallpaper could be driving the protagonist crazy. The wallpaper could also be a metaphor for the mental state of the protagonist. The protagonist is slowly losing her grip on reality and the wallpaper is a representation of that.
The protagonist is also, fascinated by the pattern on the wallpaper. She describes the pattern as, “It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others.” (309) The pattern on the wallpaper is important because it is another clue that something is wrong with the protagonist. The pattern is not a normal pattern and it is strange that the protagonist is so fixated on it. The pattern could be a metaphor for the way that the protagonist’s mind is unraveling. The patterns are strange and they don’t make sense because the protagonist’s mind is not making sense.
The yellow wallpaper is a representation of the protagonist’s mental state. The color, the pattern, and the bars on the windows are all clues that something is wrong with the protagonist. The wallpaper is a metaphor for the way that the protagonist’s mind is slowly unraveling.
“John is rarely home because he is away all day, and in some cases, when his circumstances are critical.” This sentence allows the reader to infer that John is not most likely her spouse since she tells us he’s a physician, indicating that he’s away all day and even all night. It’s also understood that it’s not ideal for a doctor to be involved with your family member(s).
The reader might believe that John is not her husband, because if he was her husband he would be home with her and not working all day and night. The Narrator also states that “John does not know how much I really suffer.” The reader gets the sense that John is not supportive of her, which could lead to the conclusion that they are not married. The reason the reader might come to this conclusion, is because if they were married one would think that he would be more supportive of his wife since she is going through something very tough.
The quote also suggests that the Narrator is trying to hide her true feelings from John, which further supports the idea that they might not be married. The next quote is “He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction.” The reader can interpret from this quote that John is extremely overprotective of the Narrator. The reason the reader might come to this conclusion is because, theNarrator says that he is “very careful and loving.”
This suggests that he is worried about her well-being and doesn’t want anything bad to happen to her. The word “stir” in this quote suggests that the Narrator is not allowed to do anything on her own and needs permission from John to do anything. This could be a big problem in their relationship, because it shows that John doesn’t trust her to do anything on her own.