In Charlotte Perkins Gilmans’ The Yellow Wallpaper, the main theme is the oppression and repression of woman. We follow the narrator as her confinement within herself and her room slowly drive her insane. The main character is trapped by the wallpaper’s vine pattern, which she sees as a cage other women are stuck behind, just as her physician husband has trapped her in the room. There is also a gender division throughout the story. This gender division had the effect of keeping the narrator in a childish state of ignorance and preventing her from expressing herself by taking away her writing, which was the only voice of expression she had. John’s assumption of his own superior wisdom and maturity leads him to misjudge, patronize, and dominate his wife, all in the name of helping her. The narrator is reduced to acting like a child, unable to stand up for herself without seeming unreasonable or disloyal. The narrator has no say in even the smallest details of her life, and she retreats into her obsessive fantasy, the only place she can retain some control and exercise the power of her mind. I think that through the theme of the story, Gilmans is trying to change our ideas suggesting that a woman's place was in the private domain of the home, where she should carry out her prescribed roles of wife and mother and show us that it could potentially drive a person insane to live like that.
Now to talk about characterization. In The Yellow Wallpaper, the antagonist is the narrator. She is the main character of the story who is a mother and a wife who suffers from depression and anxiety. She is prescribed to a treatment called “rest cure” in which she is confined to a room for several months. She is forbidden to write or engage in any creative activity by her husband. She desperately wants to please her husband and assume her role as an ideal mother and wife, so she does not openly object to this. She secretly keeps a journal and begins writing in it. Over the course...
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