The Yellow Wallpaper

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“The Yellow Wallpaper”
Throughout the study of literature, it is believed that most works cannot be fully understood without a biographical strategy. In order to understand a work, the reader must understand the author’s life and experiences to grasp the full concept of that work. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman uses symbolism, personification, and other literary tools to portray the way women were treated throughout this particular era. Gilman also uses a romanticism approach when writing “The Yellow Wallpaper”. The narrator believes that the woman trapped in the wallpaper, symbolizes her and all the other women living in the male dominant society. Romanticism represents an art for arts sake.

Born in 1860, Charlotte Perkins Gilman was forced into an era of male supremacy. Gilman was abandoned by her father from infancy and often left into the care of relatives including Harriet Beecher Stowe and feminist activists, Isabella Beecher Hooker and Catherine Beecher. Strong and influential women, struggling for their place in a male dominant world, shaped Gilman’s childhood. The women made Gilman an independent young lady, teaching her importance of exercise and philosophy, over that of clothes and jewelry. At the age of 24, Gilman married her first husband, Charles Walter Stetson. After having her daughter the next year, Gilman went into a deep depression. The noted neurologist, S. Weir Mitchell, examined her. He told her to follow his ‘rest cure’ of complete bed rest and limited intellectual activity. This meant no writing. Gilman realized that this ridiculous cure was actually driving her more insane, so she removed herself from Mitchell's care. When her health got better during a trip to California she paired her emotional problems to her marriage and decided to leave her husband. In 1900, Gilman married for the second time to her cousin George Houghton Gilman. Gilman continued her feministic journey...
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