Interpretation In The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Pages: 5 (1172 words) Published: February 19, 2018


Dascha Nelipowitz Essay 1
English 104

While the setting of “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman obviously presents the possibility that the narrator is trapped in an insane asylum, it also illustrates the situations of many woman in the late nineteenth century. This story is about a woman driven insane by postpartum depression and risky treatment. However, the narrator’s characterization reveals how the story is about finding identity. The narrator’s projection of an imaginary woman fragments her identity considering the imaginary woman was her own shadow at first. This arises the conflict she experiences and eventually leading...

With “barred windows for little children and rings and things in the walls” the room is a prison (Gilman 239). Considering the pattern on the yellow wallpaper “at night in any kind of light, twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all moonlight, becomes bars” as if she is imprisoned in her own reality (Gilman 246). She refers to the wallpaper as being bars twice in this aspect. The narrator expresses her feelings as being imprisoned by projecting her feelings into the wallpaper. “I sometimes fancy that in my condition, if i had less opposition and more society and stimulus--but john says the very worst thing i can do is think about my condition, and i confess it always makes me feel bad” She’s expressing not being allowed to talk about her condition in the least bit drives her insane (Gilman, 239). The feeling of her room becoming a prison goes from being figurative to more literal as the isolation from reality deepens her need to...

With the constant isolation and loneliness causing the narrator to obsess over her surroundings, the mirage begins to take shape and outline a more literal shape. To confirm this she writes in her journal “I didn’t realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, the dim sub-pattern, but now i am quite sure it is a woman” (Gilman 246). She does not seem to waiver at all thinking that the figure in the wallpaper is specifically a woman. Instead of recognizing the figure as a human form, she identifies it as a woman. The reasoning for this is that the outline of the form is not only her shadow, but a projected image of what she wishes it to be, a female. Calling this figure a woman gives her an aspect of escape now that the two are of the same kind. The “dim sub pattern” is that of the bars which gives way to the illusion of her shadow, which has now become an actual person to her, being entrapped behind it. This transformation from formless shadow to hidden woman gives way a more literal, transferal of...
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