“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is, on its surface, about a female who suffers postpartum anxiety, which is the supreme aspect causing her madness; nevertheless, a closer evaluation of the lead character’s representation and description reveals that the story is mainly about her struggle with identity. The protagonist’s illustration of a fictional lady– which initially is classified as her shadow– rattling against the bars of the wallpaper fragments her identity, embodying the conflict she experiences and leads to the breakdown of the borders of both her identity and that of her forecasted shadow.
By being isolated from others and not given permission to leave her room, the lead character who does not have something to occupy her time becomes delusional. With “disallowed windows for kids and rings and things in the walls” the space is like her jail (Gilman 648). Even the pattern on the wallpaper “at night in any sort of light, golden, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all moonlight, becomes bars” as if she is caged (Gilman 653). In both circumstances, she describes the features of the room as bars. As she starts to feel put behind bars in her room the protagonist protrudes her emotions into the wallpaper; however, the idea of the room functioning as her prison goes from having a figurative meaning to a more literal one as her confinement deepens her desire to leave. Towards the end of the story the female behind the wallpaper ends up being an intricate hallucination in comparison to the shadowy figure at the start. Initially the lady is merely a “formless figure sulking about behind the silly and obvious front design,” much like the shadows had by all matter (Gilman 652).
The significance of the word “formless” recommends that this being has actually evolved since the protagonist later declares to plainly see a woman; likewise, explaining the wall as “silly and obvious” hints that the pattern of the wallpaper is rather noticeable and loud but not enormous. This likewise changes by the end of story when the wallpaper attempts to pester her. Therefore, her eventual personality shift is a phenomenon that seems to happen progressively as her isolation in the yellow room takes hold of her mind. It is just when her depression takes a more powerful hang on her that the form of the shadow takes an unique shape. With the continuous solitude that the lead character sustains and her obsession over her environments, the mirage starts to contour. In her journal she composes, “I didn’t recognize for a very long time what the thing was that revealed behind, that dim sub-pattern, and now I am quite sure it is a female” (Gilman 653). Instead of seeing the shadow as just another human kind, she particularly deems it a female.
The reason being that the shape of the type is not just that of her shadow, but also of what she wishes it to be. Calling this “thing” a lady provides her an outlet now that the 2 are considered of the same kind. The “dim sub pattern” functions as the bars that pave the way to the impression of her shadow– which handles the identity of a human– being entrapped behind it. This change in appearance from formless shadow to concealed lady gives yield to her shifting identity. At first, the shadows of things and everything around the protagonist seem the lady trapped behind the wallpaper. In her journal, she declares to see the woman in the garden “on that long road under the trees, creeping along, and when a carriage comes she conceals under the blackberry vines” (Gilman 654). These figures could be the shadows of the animals or plants growing in the garden in which she has actually changed, in her mind, into the shape of the artificial lady. Given that she imagines the lady having the ability to leave throughout the day, this assertion probably show her own desires to escape and socialize with those outdoors.
In other words, the lead character lives vicariously through the woman. Evidence of her envy toward the female is displayed in the sections where she begins to mirror the lady’s actions like sneaking in her room during the day (Gilman 655). The hallucination serves as an avenue for her to be free of the nursery she is occupying. Although the figure seems behind the wallpaper, from the point of view of someone looking within, the protagonist would be the one that is behind the bars. The room with the yellow wallpaper is her jail, and each night the female taunts her with her flexibility up until the lead character finally rips the paper away.
Completion of the story reflects the total breakdown of the protagonist’s identity all in its own, and that appears when she composes: “I have actually gone out at last, in spite of you and Jane! And I have actually pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!” (Gilman 656). In the beginning glimpse, it’s not something that is simple to capture possibly due to the fact that of her sister-in-law’s name Jennie, but we have never heard the name Jane before. Throughout the whole story the storyteller is giving her individual account of what’s going on so not when is her name specified, a minimum of till the very end when John finds her sneaking around the room. The only logical explanation for this to have occurred would be that the individual speaking now is the hallucination; which naturally is also Jane. It would appear that Jane and the shadow female have switched places where the lady behind the wallpaper is now Jane’s brand-new state of mind, and the old put behind bars Jane is now looking in from the outside.
To all looks, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is about a female driven insane by postpartum depression and seclusion, however it is moreover. It is the illusion of the lead character’s shadow versus the bars of the wallpaper’s pattern that drive her to insanity and ultimately into believing that she and the so called woman have actually switched places. This story is perfectly troubling because the material is revolving around something ominous, yet the writing and plot are rather intriguing. The story has much to say about the mistreatment of ladies in the 19th century and how far the human mind can go before it snaps.