The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Yellow Wallpaper

By | May 2005
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Vintage short stories are meant to entertain their readers. However, many passive readers miss the true entertainment that lies within the story in the hidden context. Most short stories have, embedded in the writing, a lesson or theme attached to them. In the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper," Gilman demonstrates a woman who has suffered from repression and longs for the freedom from her controlling husband. Gender conflicts play a major role throughout this story. The author portrays these kinds of conflicts through the three main characters, John, Jennie and the narrator. The theme of this story is a woman's fall into insanity resulting from isolation from treatment of post-partum depression. Gilman is also telling the story of how women were thought of as prisoners by the demands of the society throughout that time period. She also expresses the punishments these women had when they tried to break free. As a reader, we see how much control John had over her and how it ended up affecting her individuality.

The narrator in "The Yellow Wallpaper" writes about her experience in dealing with depression. As a result her husband, a physician, decided that it would be a good idea for them to take a trip to the country for the summer where she could get the rest and isolation that she needs. In the beginning the woman becomes increasingly unhappy as she is forced to occupy a room that she despises. She describes the wallpaper in the room as being, "one of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin." She disliked everything about it including the color and the patterns. However, as the story continues, the woman's attitude changes toward the wallpaper.

Through given belittling comments, often disguised as cute nick-names, John was able to settle any doubts, yet maintain his suppression over her. Such examples are "Bless her little heart! She shall be as sick as she pleases! And talk about it in the morning!" Unfortunately, because she was...
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