In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Charlotte Gilman tries to make determined statements regarding individuality and feminism. The author does this by taking the reader throughout the terrors of one woman’s psychosis. The mental condition of the main herione is characterized by the yellow wallpaper in her room. The main objective of this assignment it to give a literal scrutiny of “TheYellow Wallpaper” and disscuss how various literary elements reinforce or modify the theme of the story.
The author of “The Yellow Wallpaper” pays much attention to the depiction of the yellow wallpaper and woman’s obsessive perception of this wallpaper. Although the plot of the story is based on the woman’s neurosis, it aims at delivering an entirely unrelated message. Through the story, Charlotte Gilman aims at evoking a point of personal expression. She has successfully done this through describing the progression of illness and through the condition of the wallpaper. It is apparent from the story that the woman does not restrict the idea of being inferior to men, especially to her husband, John. The husband, being a physician, orders the woman to stay in bed, suppress imagination, and cease her writing. Although the woman feels a bit better when writing and regards it as beneficial, she fails to say a word agains her husband. The main heroine believes that genial work may distract her from the illness and excite a little bit; however, “what can one do?” (Gilman 160). The phrase, “what can one do?” depicts deficiency in selfconfidence and expression of inferiority. The manner in which she depicts her opinions and decisions does not count; however, she is accepting this perspective. Furthermore, the main heroine belittles herself throughout the story. Although she tries to say that she is an assistant to John, she sees herself as a “comparative burden” (Gilman 162). Thus, it becomes quite obvious from the story that women are treated as inferior to men in the society.
The main problem depicted in the story is that the main heroine does not have a chance to give enough credit to herself, and this is quite obvious from the text. Unfortuntely, this can be compared to the present situation in society. Even if people know what makes them feel better, they often rely on the doctor’s advice because of his authority. The woman is trying by all means to recover and knows what she needs. However, she is shut down in a dull room by her husband and her own insecurity. The yellow wallpaper is considered to symbolize woman’s illness. Moreover, she clearly sees herself through this wallpaper. Introduction of the wallpaper by the author sets the social environment amid the woman and her illness. The description of the wallpaper as dull, irritating and provoking portrays the woman’s feelings (Gilman 161). In order to make the main heroine recover from the illness, the doctor says that she is the only one who can help herself out of the situation. He proposes her to “use her will and self power and not allow any silly believes run away with her” (Gilman 165). However, only after the woman discovers her will, she becomes capable of overcoming the illness, which destroys what limits her actions (Gilman 171). This is what makes the woman control her own life, which was always under control of her husband. Thus, being in control of one’s life leads to appreciating oneself as a personality. However, lack of appreciating will make others have control over a person. Therefore, “The Yellow Wallpaper” signifies the contradicting ideas regarding women’s rights and true womanhood with the rise of feminism.
It is evident from the story that the overall theme emphasized by the narrator is that of feminism. The floral decorations on the interior walls depict the female connection with domestic sphere. The narrator reverses her first feeling of being watched by the wallpaper and stasts to actively study the wallpaper in order to decode its meaning. Over time, the woman untangles the chaotic model and moves the image of a woman under pressure to break the bars in the chaotic pattern. As time goes, the woman starts to believe that she is trapped just like that another woman on the wallpaper. Thus, she tears down the wallpaper and this becomes a big relief to the woman. Now she believes that she is released from the trap (Gilman 175). This episode is a crucial indication of the theme of feminism as it shows how women gain control over their lives. Tearing of the wallpaper means that woman's imprisonment is broken. It symbolized the fact that women have gained control over their own lives, which are not controlled by men any more. The yellow tint of the wallpaper is an indication of discrimination against the minority, which in this case is represented by women. Although the woman has been discriminated against, she appears to be strong enough to discover her own self, which indicates the rise of feminism.
The plot of the story and its characters are two elements, which have clearly reinforced the theme of feminism. Namely, the characters of “The Yellow Wallpaper” have immensely contributed to the theme of feminism,for instance, the narrator has kept the perspective of the society that women are inferior to men. Such a suggestion goes along with the story, until the narrator discovers her will power. Only after the woman discovers her will power, she brings out the theme of feminism clearly. She finds out that her will can make her take control over everything she feels. Moreover, now she knows for sure what right for her and what makes her better. John is another character of the story that has contributed to the theme of feminism. According to him, women should always follow men’s orders since men seem to have more authority than women. Adhering of the main characters to such a belief generates the theme of feminism. According to the plot of the story, the narrator should underdo a rest cure after the child’s birth. The poor woman is confined into a room with a torn wallpaper, and this situation also reveals the theme of feminism. The narrator thinks that someone else must have been confined in the room against her will. This gives her the urge to fight for the place of women in the society. Moreover, the narrator here fights for the power of her will, which satisfies her. All this contributes immensely to the theme of feminism.
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In addition, the yellow wallpaper is a symbol that reinforces the theme of feminism. It has been used by the author as an illustration of the discriminations that women suffered during the time. Moreover, women were depicted as mentally weak and fragile, which implied that their decision was not relevant. It was an indication of the male dominated society, which called for women intervention in order to stop this domination. As it was mentioned above, the yellow wallpaper has been just a limitation of gaining control; thus, the narrator broke down the wallpaper leading to the realization of the women power.
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