A Study of Insanity The “Yellow Wallpaper,” is a personal account of the author’s, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, struggle with depression. It vividly documents one woman’s experience with depression and the toil she endured through the treatment of the “Rest Cure.” The story helps readers to get a mental picture of how society and solitary confinement can both drive a person into sheer madness. In the story, the narrator has just given birth to a child and is experiencing, what we call today, Post Partum Depression. With this in mind, her husband has decided to put her to rest for the summer. He confines her to a room that resembles more of a jail cell than a bedroom, and refuses to allow her to work for, .”..
with my imaginative power and habit of story making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies… .” (Gilman, Par 61) Though this is meant to alleviate the condition and help the narrator to return to the role of mother and wife, it quickly becomes worse than the disease itself. As her imprisonment continues, the narrator becomes more and more unable to exercise dominion over her mind. She finds solace in her surroundings and becomes increasingly obsessed with the yellow wallpaper in her bedroom.
.”.. the pattern is torturing. You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well underway in following, it turns back-somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face knocks you down, and tramples upon you. It is like a bad dream.” (Gil, Par.
... 's ensemble turns into a beautiful, sparkly ball gown. Narrator's in stories whether they be short or long have many specific ... him every time" (Gilman 89). The function of the narrator in this story is to cause the reader to imagine and picture ... and is limited to basically doing nothing. As the story continues the narrator is drawn toward the hideous wallpaper and finds herself ...
145) Though, at first she had immediate dislike for the wallpaper describing it as, “One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin.” (Gilman, Par. 35) The paper does, indeed, begin to fascinate her and she becomes more engrossed in uncovering its secrets. Eventually it becomes the center of her life and her only concern, and she spends days and nights concentrating her thoughts on the patterns and the figures that lay beneath it. “But in the places where it isn’t faded and where the sun is just so- I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design.” (Gilman, Pars. 80-81) While the paper continues to provide a haven for the narrator, there seems to be a deeper meaning in it that reflects her mental state. As she analyzes the paper more and more, the woman behind the patterned walls becomes gradually more apparent.
“I didn’t realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a woman.” (Gilman, Par 154) It becomes quite evident that this “woman,” is, in actuality, a projection of the narrator herself, and represents the feminine confinement that she has endured through her husband’s “rest cure.” The woman she sees is trying to break free and, .”.. takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard.” (Gilman, Par. 191) This struggle for freedom is a reflection of the narrator’s own desire to break free and leave the house that has robbed her of her personal and feminine liberty. As her mental state unravels, she sees more and more activity in the paper, and eventually feels the need to physically pull the paper off. By doing this both she and the woman have liberated themselves from the masculine oppression of her husband, society, and the oppression she has contributed to herself by allowing her husband to confine her as he’s done. Thus the pattern of the wallpaper, not only, reflects the mental state of the narrator, but also reflects the limits society places on women and the resistance to women who are trying to break free..
... to break free. As her madness progresses the narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper becomes increasingly aware of a woman present in the pattern of ... As her madness progresses the narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper becomes increasingly aware of a woman present in the pattern of the wallpaper. She ...