Interpretations of Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is an example of how stories and the symbolism to which they are related can influence the perspective of its readers and alternate their point of view. In the “Yellow Wall-Paper”, the unknown narrator gets so influenced by her surroundings that she starts showing signs of mental disorder, creating through many years several controversies on trying to find the real causes of her decease. Gilman’s story has been cause of debates since it publication, it has been analyzed by many intellectuals and exposed to many different points of views, but no one has proven to be completely right about the different kind of meanings it can provoke on readers. Paul Reifenheinser notes that “Some undergraduates have internalized the idea that a text has “one” meaning and that determining authorial intention provides the best method for its discovery” (112). What Reifenheinser says is that there are several ways of interpreting this story. No matter how much time critics spend trying to find an absolute meaning to it, every new reader will understand it in a different way and make different kinds of statements about it. Even though it is nearly impossible to understand every meaning and every symbol of the story, there are many theories that are recognized as the most relevant when analyzing Gilman’s short story. For instance, in the story, the narrator becomes so obsessed with the way her bedroom furniture is arranged that she starts to find random signs that at first glance do not mean much to her, but that throughout the story she describes as impossible to live with, specially the yellow wallpaper. She says “The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing. You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well underway in following, it turns a back somersault and there you are. It...
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