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the yellow wallpaper

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Society has a way of applying roles to certain groups of people. Feminist criticism was a big problem throughout the 1800’s and a part of the 1900’s. Today society really doesn’t have that problem anymore; one example would be women in the taking part in the government. Using feminist criticism, the reader can analyze Charlotte Perkins-Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper through dialogue, symbols, and setting. In this story a women who appears to be sick to others including her husband who is a physician is not sick at all. She lives in a society where women are thought to only be useful for taking of the children and staying home. While Jennie the nanny takes care of the narrator’s child, the narrator care takes time to get better from her illness everyone tells her she has. In the end the narrator refuses to abide by society’s rules and chooses to be her own self, not who society wants her to be. Using feminist criticism, the reader can analyze The Yellow Wallpaper through dialogue, symbols, and setting.

In the story The Yellow Wallpaper, the dialogue connects very well to feminist criticism. In the story women did not know what it was it was like to be them selves. That is why women had their place in society, which was taking care of the house and watching the kids. “Nobody would believe what an effort it is to do what little I am able, --to dress and entertain, and order things” (Gilman).In the story the narrator made herself seem as she was worth nothing. In the quote where the narrator is speaking to herself, she states that she is not good for many things and dressing entertaining, and ordering things is mostly what she and other women are good for. This explains what women were thought to be good for in this time period, which was not much. The difference from then to today is vast. Today women are thought to be just as equal as men and are even allowed to participate in the government and beck then they weren’t even allowed to opine. Another example of dialogue in the story is when the narrator finally breaks free from society at the end of the story. In this scene John is speaking to the narrator. “What is the matter?” he cried. “For God’s sake, what are you doing?” I kept on creeping just the same, but I looked at him over my shoulder. “I’ve got out at last,” said I, “in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!” (Gilman). In that scene the narrator is showing that she has defeated society and her husband. For example, the reason for why her husband fainted was because he was so astonished by the fact that she had decided to choose her way of life. In the end the narrator made her point and decided not to live the life of the average women and be only in charge of the house and the children. In this short story there are also many symbols. Two of them would be the wallpaper, and the women that she sees trapped in the layers of the wallpaper just as she is.

The Yellow Wallpaper can also be analyzed with symbols. Throughout the whole story the wall paper that is in the room where the narrator is in says a lot about the story. The wallpaper also says a lot about why the narrator is acting the way she is. To the narrator the wall paper represent herself being held back by the way life is for a woman. In the wallpaper she feels that she is trapped and can’t escape her anxiety. “There are things in that paper which nobody knows but me, or ever will. Behind that outside pattern the dim shapes get clearer every day. It is always the same shape, only very numerous. And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. I don’t like it a bit. I wonder—I begin to think—I wish John would take me away from here!” (Gilman). When a certain type of light hits the wallpaper the narrator can see that there are two patterns and one of the patterns are forming bars. She finds out that she needs to find away and escape from the cell that she is in. “I don’t like to look out of the windows even—there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast. I wonder if they all come out of that wall-paper as I did. I don’t like to look out of the windows even—there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast. I wonder if they all come out of that wall-paper as I did?”(Gilman). When the narrator says that she is afraid to look out it’s because she doesn’t want to look at the women that are trapped like her inside the wallpaper. It makes her feel bad that she has to look at them and she knows that the same thing is happening to her. The setting in The Yellow Wallpaper is also another way that the story can be analyzed.

In The Yellow Wallpaper, the setting is clear mainly through the house and the time period that the narrator is living in. This short story takes place during the 1800’s. During that time period and through some of the 1900’s women did not have a say in anything if they were to give there opinion no one would listen. During that time, most thought that the man was superior to the women. Therefore, the assumption that the woman was only good for taking care of the children was made. “If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do?” (Gilman). Here the narrator says that her opinion does not count no matter what circumstance because her husband is the man, and what the man say is right. And like it or not she cant do or say anything about it. When john and his wife get to the house after the wife gets out of the hospital he takes her to a house he leased and gave her a room. In that room all her troubles seem to be getting worse and she feels that she is being held back. “At first he meant to repaper the room, but afterwards he said that I was letting it get the better of me, and that nothing was worse for a nervous patient than to give way to such fantasies” (Gilman). This quote can relate to the setting because the husband seems to know that the wallpaper is bothering her. And he likes that because that gives her another reason to keep thinking that she is not better yet so he just tells her not to worry about it and she keeps suffering until she later decides to peel it off herself.

In conclusion, the narrator just couldn’t take not being a free woman anymore and she took the wallpaper down herself. She just couldn’t accept the fact that she had to be like all the other women. Using feminist criticism, the reader can analyze The Yellow Wallpaper through dialogue, symbols, and setting. Sometimes people just have to fight for what they want, and in the narrators case she beat society.





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