Print Email Download Reference This Send to Kindle Reddit This
submit to reddit

The yellow wallpaper

The Yellow wallpaper

Chartole Gilman is a presentation of feminism in the short story dubbed "The Yellow wallpaper". The events revolve around a woman who is on the verge of mental breakdown and has been forbidden to work so as to recuperate from what her husband describes as nervous depression and "hysterical tendencies" (Gilman 8). Through the presentation of women behind the wall paper, a clear division between men and women is presented. Based on a true story of the narrator's failed diagnosis and treatment process, the story clearly demonstrates how an anxious mind can deteriorate and be rendered inactive completely.

Some level of triumph is exhibited at the end of the narrative which demonstrates a woman's assertion of freedom in an abusive marriage (Gilman 11). The images of women in the wallpaper demonstrate how women characters manage to capture freedom from male counterparts. When her husband John is unconscious, she symbolically rises over him by literally crawling. This demonstrates a level of female victory over male chauvinism despite the fact that the sanity of the narrator was lost in the process (Gilman 12). A feminist condemnation regarding the treatment of madness cases by the medical practitioners in the 19th century. The narrator consistently claimed that her treatment of the mental condition would be possible through working and not just by having 'mere rest' (Gilman 19). She went against the diagnosis by starting to work again; the narrator wrote this book with instances of exaggeration in order to illustrate how misdiagnosis can cause severe negative results. This means she does not want to be withdrawn from the society but wants to contribute significantly to the development process. This explains the reason why the narrator began writing consistently.

Through the description of the wallpaper presented by the narrator, the typical nature of societal women is presented. The narrator says that women should be dull so as to confuse an eye in following while being destroyed in contradictions (Gilman 5). This presents a negative aspect of women who are regarded as being self destructive, and as a result cannot be left to make decisions on their own. This is the treatment accorded to the narrator by her husband whereby she is not allowed to stir without being given special direction (Gilman 4). Women are also regarded as lesser human beings owing to the kind of language used by the narrator's husband. Such demeaning references like "blessed little goose" are used. Another feminist presentation of women is derived in the use of architectural terminology to describe the wallpaper where ideally the female mind is depicted as a mere "debased Romanesque" (Gilman 8). This means that a woman's mind is adorned with some level of loveliness presenting ideals of typical women. The woman character in this short story has been held captive by the rules which exist in the society. For instance, due to the fear she holds in regard to her husband, she hides her creativity and writings.

When the main character begins to distrust her husband's moves, here female strength and empowerment rather than madness is exhibited. By portraying she feels, this acts as a clear demonstration of the need to get rid of physical and mental imprisonment accorded to women in society. Women's liberations from unfair societal practices are demonstrated when the character locks herself up in the room and started creeping around tearing the wall paper. This indicates the zeal that the character had over freedom. When torn, the wallpaper was converted into various shapes. These different shapes are a demonstration of the feelings exhibited by the wife during these different times. Tearing the wall paper demonstrates liberation from unfair male dominated society. For example, this is indicated where the character assures the reader of liberation from detrimental roles by considering the aspect of getting "out at last" (Gilman 9).

In conclusion, "The yellow Wallpaper" effectively worked in presenting a feminist approach to women's issues. Charlotte interacted with the yellow wallpaper symbolic to the problems which had confined her to the bedroom, as an indication that she could not escape from the kind of life subjected to her. From the story, bold as well as symbolic gesture is revealed regarding the freedom that women ought to yearn for. Depression and madness which had descended on Charlotte was aggravated by the confinement subjected by the husband. This is why Charlotte was happy when she finally had the chance to tear down the yellow wallpaper. By deliberately portraying psychological abuse present in this marriage which finally leads the narrator to descend completely to madness, the author seeks to have the readers open their eyes and accord immediate remedy to the discrimination and abuse perceived. The author presents a common scenario in the society where the women's safety is deemed to be in good hands, but over protectiveness associated with the husband may turn to be abusive if not controlled.

Gilman, Charlotte .The Yellow Wallpaper. Charleston, South Carolina: Forgotten Books Publishers, 1891.

Print Email Download Reference This Send to Kindle Reddit This

Share This Essay

To share this essay on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ just click on the buttons below:

Request Removal

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have the essay published on the UK Essays website then please click on the link below to request removal:

Request the removal of this essay.


More from UK Essays