“The Yellow Wallpaper:” Psychoanalytical and Feminist Perspectives
A short feminist story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman portrays a woman who seems to be experiencing a psychological breakdown and inferiority. As the main character longs for self-expression and freedom, she commits actions of displacement and denial, which parallels with the overall theme of the subordination of women and portrays psychoanalytical aspects.
Gilman introduces a married couple who will be living in a rental home for three months during the summer. The main character and narrator is a woman who remains anonymous throughout the novel that supposedly has nervous depression according to her physician husband, John. Because of her husband’s diagnosis, she has been confined to a room that she considers to have a dreadful appearance because of the yellow wallpaper. Also, John is very overbearing with his wife, and does not support her writing at all. “I did write in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal--having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition” (Gilman, 238). Having to hide her journal entries and keeping them a secret creates this ordeal of stress placed upon her shoulders because she feels like her husband has oppressing her from living her life. John becomes a major symbol of oppression and the constant reminder of dominance within a marriage. John subjects her to do as he says, no matter the situation. It’s almost as if he controls her, especially when he never wishes to hear her opinions on any matter: “And John would not hear of it” (Gilman 239). John believes that he knows what is best for his wife and that she does not know what is best for her.
The wallpaper is shown to be yellow and worn out. “The color is repellent and almost revolting...” (Gilman, 240). The main character is displacing her feelings and constant anger onto the yellow wallpaper of the room. It is “repellant,” similar to how she repels from John, and...
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