The Yellow Wallpaper
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story that handles various issues that lady in the 19th century needed to handle daily. A few of these problems were within their control, but many of them were beyond the world of control for ladies. The main point that I will concentrate on is how limited social roles can cause insanity. I will do this by deciphering the meaning of the “yellow wallpaper” and its meaning.
In my opinion, I think that when we get a much better understanding of the author’s interest in this discipline and get a feel for life in the 19th century, then we will have a much better understanding of the story. First, let’s have a look at the background of Gilman before and after she wrote The Yellow Wallpaper. Gilman lived throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries and she certainly had her reasonable share of troubles. Her greatest struggle in life was living within the restraints of a society that put women in a class apart from everyone else; when in her heart she felt that she was an equivalent to males.
She suffered anxiety from this problem for several years, until finally she was appear by a world-famous neurologist, Dr. Dam Mitchell, who simply recommended her with rest. This “pause” sent her into an even much deeper state of anxiety, which she didn’t come out of until she attempted to resume her normal life, along with joining the American Female Suffrage Association as an author and active participant. Sadly, Gilman’s life got so bad that her condition worsened and she was up to the madness level, eventually causing her to commit suicide with chloroform.
Now that we have a little background on the author, we can take a more detailed take a look at the actual work and its characters. The two primary characters of the story a storyteller and her other half, John, and the story takes place in the 19th century. Life for the 2 is like most other marital relationships in this amount of time, just the storyteller is not like most other wives. She has this inner desire to be devoid of the social functions that confine her and to focus on her writing, while John in material with his life and thinks that his partner overreacts to whatever.
Generally, in this age, the man was responsible for looking after the lady both economically and mentally, while the female was solely accountable for staying in the house. This was a trap that prevented both women and men from developing emotionally and acquiring self-individualism. The story starts with the husband and wife moving into their summer season house right after having their first kid. The other half has a funny sensation about it specifying that it is “something queer about it” (Gilman 658), however John thinks that she is being too suspicious.
She is ill in the sense that she is struggling with anxiety, however John, being a physician, thinks that she is fine which she will be all right quickly. The space that they move into is what used to be a nursery and this is where the drama really begins. The storyteller describes the space as having windows that are “disallowed for little children.” (Gilman 659) Seeing that she is a new mother, I see this as being a symbol of her dislike of her motherly responsibilities. Jane is unable to take care of her own child for a one central factor: she is too depressed.
Today, we would call this post-partum anxiety and we typically get over it, but in the 19th century this was not common. Just starting to understand this room, she goes on to say that there is a beautiful garden, just she needs to browse disallowed windows to see it. Eventually, the narrator specifies where she takes notice of the wallpaper. Her first description of it states that it is: “dull enough to puzzle the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly aggravate and provoke research study, and when you follow the lame unsure curves for a little distance they all of a sudden devote suicide? estroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.” (Gilman 659) This is quite an extreme description that states numerous things. In a sense, the patterns on the wallpaper are being compared to ladies. It is as if ladies are puzzling items that are always irritated, yet constantly get research study from others. When they are taken a look at further, it is found that these items are so full of contradictions that they will ultimately self-destruct. This can likewise go to state that ladies have no good sense and therefore can not be depended make sensible choices or protect themselves if the need should develop.
That is why the man exists: to supervise them and give them specific guidelines to help them to make it through life securely. In more analysis of the wallpaper, it is found that the wallpaper resembles a maze. One peculiar way that the narrator explains the real design of the wallpaper is by stating that it is has “a type of ‘debased Romanesque’? go waddling up and down in separated columns of fatuity.” (Gilman 662) The word “Romanesque” in this sense refers to romance as well as an extremely ornamented design supported by decorated vault columns.
In linking the description to the character, we can deduce that the female mind is filled with flawed romantic idea vaults that are supported by beautiful columns of confusion. Despite the fact that I believe that this is not true, for the most part, it is an actual translation of the words in that sentence. She also goes on to describe the pattern of the wallpaper as “a florid arabesque.” (Gilman 664) From this, it can be stated that the female’s mind is an interlacing of patterns that to some can appear irregular and quite confusing.
The wallpaper itself, which is certainly meant to portray the attributes of the ideal female, is the narrator’s source of madness. At first, she just dislikes the wallpaper in general. But after a while, she begins to entirely dislike it and its residential or commercial properties and implications in her mind. This can be seen in the fact that her partner believes that she is recovering, when in reality she is becoming worse. She is going outrageous from her furtive attempts and failures to obtain peace with this wallpaper.
This is evident in statements that she makes such as: “There are always brand-new shoots on the fungus, and new tones of yellow all over it; There is something else about that paper– the odor! It creeps all over your home. I discover it hovering in the dining-room, sulking in the parlor, concealing in the hall, waiting for me on the stairs.” (Gilman 666) She has become absolutely consumed with the paper! Why would anyone in their right mind be so worried about a piece of wallpaper?
It is obvious at this moment that the narrator is losing her mind, courtesy of her fascination with the wallpaper in her bedroom. Her senses are being continuously crowded with ideas of the wallpaper and she is subconsciously trying to totally free herself from it. This ultimately leads to her seeing bars in the pattern of the wallpaper and more towards schizophrenia paired with a worried breakdown. As this breakdown is nearing, she begins tearing the wallpaper off of the wall and locks her partner out: “I have actually locked the door and tossed the secret down into the front course.
I don’t want to go out, and I don’t wish to have anybody can be found in, till John comes.” (Gilman 668) What is this all about? She has a rope with her and she is continually tearing paper off of the wall. All the while she is mumbling about “? sneaking women.” (Gilman 668) She says: “I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did?” (Gilman 668) Maybe that is why she has rope. Maybe she is going to hang herself from the bars in the window once she frees herself from the wallpaper. Quickly John gets back and discovers the door locked.
He asks her to open it and she tells him “The key is down by the front door under a plantain leaf!” (Gilman 669) When he returns and opens the door, he sees her ripping the remainder of the paper off the wall, with the rope tied around her and he passes out. This is when John understands that his spouse has actually reached the point of hysteria and is ridiculous. But, the storyteller sees it in a different way. She states that she is now complimentary by stating: “I’ve got out at last,. in spite of you and Jane! And I’ve managed the majority of the paper, so you can’t put me back!” (Gilman 669)
The one style that I took out of The Yellow Wallpaper just cracks the surface of understanding this story. The wallpaper was used by Gilman as a medium to expose the restrictions that were put upon ladies in the 19th century. The exact same restrictions that she absolutely abhored and tried so hard to get rid of them. The narrator’s overexposure to the wallpaper was much like Gilman’s too much exposure to societal functions. They both required to go out in order to keep their minds undamaged. Eventually they both did, however it took a very long time and a big toll on their mental health and psyche.