Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses her short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" to make determined statements about feminism and individuality. Gilman does so by taking the reader through the terrors of one woman's neurosis, her entire mental state characterized by her encounters with the wallpaper in her room.
Much of this story is centered on eerie descriptions of the yellow wallpaper and the woman's obsessive interactions with it. It is important, though, to understand that although the plot is primarily based around her neurosis, the objective of the story is to deliver a completely unrelated message. Many critics of "The Yellow Wallpaper" claim that the story might drive someone mad simply by reading it, but this, in my opinion, is beside the point. Gilman seeks instead to evoke a message of individual expression and successfully does so by recording the progression of the illness, through the state of the wallpaper.
It is immediately apparent in the story that the woman allows herself to be inferior to men, particularly her husband, John. Being a physician, he ahs special orders for her: To stay in bed, suppress her imagination, and most importantly to discontinue her writing. Though she feels better when she writes, and feels it may be beneficial, she does not say a word. "Personally I disagree with their ideas," she writes. "Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good. But what is one to do?" (160). This statement, "What is one to do?" shows her lack of self-confidence and feeling of inferiority. She speaks as though her opinions to do not count anyway, but she is very accepting of this. She belittles herself several more times throughout the story. "I meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort, and her I am a comparative burden already" (162).
The problem is that the woman does not give herself enough credit to spec up for herself. This is slightly comparable to what many people go through...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document