The Yellow Wallpaper Analysis

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“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short story inspired by the authors real life experiences. Having suffered from a bout of depression, Gilman was prescribed rest and told to refrain from writing, which only made things worse by increasing her preexisting depression. “The Yellow Wallpaper” tells a similar tale about a depressed wife who is prescribed bed rest by her husband, who also happens to be a physician. They rent a house for the summer, where the narrator spends her time in “a big, airy room… with windows that look all ways, and air and sunshine galore. It was nursery first and then playroom and gymnasium…the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls” (Gilman). The décor consisted of a nailed down bed and yellow patterned, peeling wallpaper.
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She records her daily observations, noting the changing patterns in the wallpaper. By day, it was as if she was looking in a mirror, observing a woman similar to herself, “I didn't realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but l now I am quite sure it is a woman. By daylight she is subdued, quiet. I fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so still. It is so puzzling. It keeps me quiet by the hour” (Gilman). At night, “By moonlight -- the moon shines in all night when there is a moon -- I wouldn't know it was the same paper. At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candle light, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars!” (Gilman). The changing patterns are a reflection of the narrator’s emotional circumstance, synonymous with daily life, slightly more free during the day when she is able to write, yet confining “by moonlight” (Gilman) due to her husband’s presence and the constricting obligations of marriage. As the narrator’s isolation continues, so does the the decline of her psychological

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