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the yellow wallpaper

Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, "She doesn't have what it takes." They will say, "Women don't have what it takes." -Clare Boothe Luce. Feminism has been around for many years, but slowly women are slowly making their way up the ladder. In the story “The yellow Wallpaper”, Jane is being brainwashed by her husband that she is “sick”, when really all she’s trying to be is herself. You can see this happen through the character, Dialogue, symbolism, and setting. Jane is a talented and unique woman, and by writing in her journal she still has the chance to express herself.
In “the yellow wallpaper”, John says “Of course if you were in any danger, I could and would, but you really are better, dear, whether you can see it or not. I am a doctor, dear, and I know. You are gaining flesh and color, your appetite is better, I feel really much easier about you” (9). During the entire story john is controlling everything Jane does. He’s trying to brain wash her into being just like everyone else, and not an individual. Jane’s a strong and smart woman, and has ideas and opinions that aren’t just the same as everyone else and John will not accept that. He thinks women do not have that privilege to think for themselves, or be unique. Everything John says to Jane is a way of him brainwashing her into thinking she’s “sick” and needs to get better, when really she’s just trying to be herself. Also, the way that John and Jennie both control everything Jane does. Jane never gets to think or act for herself in the entire story, and she has to ask permission before she does anything. Both John and Jennie but make Jane sleep for a good amount of the day, which would help Jane feel more trapped and uneasy. In the story Jane wrote about Jennie “she turned around as if she had been caught stealing, and looked quite angry—asked me why I should frighten her so!”(11) John also forbids Jane from writing anything, that’s why she had to hide her journal. Jennie and John are both at fault for driving Jane crazy, for making her hide her true self.

In the story Jane says “the front pattern does move—and no wonder! The women behind shakes it! Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast and her crawling shakes it all over”(13). Jane is trying to say that the woman on the wallpaper trapped behind the bars is her. Trapped from being who she really is, and being punished for it. Her own husband not being able to except her was hurting her even more, and just because she was a woman she was wrong for being different. Jane also believes there are more women out there that are just like her. Trapped behind bars by their husbands for being unique. Other women that are just dyeing to break free just like her, and be themselves. Jane also said “But he said I wasn’t able to go, nor able to stand it after I got there; and I did not make out a very good case for myself, for I was crying before I had finished”(6). John never gives Jane the chance to tell her side of the story for anything. He has the mindset that women aren’t allowed to have their own thoughts and feelings. When Jane tries to explain things to him he won’t even listen to her.

When they move into the house, Jane’s first impression of the room she would stay in was bad. Jane says “I don’t like our room a bit. I wanted one downstairs that opened on the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz hangings!”(2). John picked a very open room so air would get in so Jane would supposedly “get better”, that also had very ugly wallpaper that bothered Jane a lot in the beginning. The wallpaper turned out to be a symbol of what Jane was really going through. She saw a woman trapped behind bars, only at night, and that’s exactly how she felt. Sometimes she even saw more than one women trapped, explaining that there are all kinds of women who feel trapped because their holding back who they really are. When Jane explains what the rest of the house and outside looks like, she makes it seem beautiful. The only room in the house that Jane doesn’t like is her bedroom, where she finds that women behind the bars. When Jane first noticed the woman she says “I didn’t realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a women”(10). Jane specifically saying those bad things about her room was symbolism that the room was going to change her. Even though John was also a big part of making her crazy, the wallpaper and the room made her have insane thoughts. That room was completely different from the rest of the house.
By the end of this story, readers can see what journey Jane has gone through and how she was drove to insanity. John was so convinced that women cannot have individual thoughts or opinions, he made Jane believe she was sick. Being treated like a child, and not being allowed to do anything but sleep and eat would drive anyone crazy. The Characters, dialogue, symbols, and setting showed the change in Jane, and what she really began to see. The woman trapped behind the bars on the wall was Jane, and she couldn’t even stand the thought of it. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a great feminism story, and really shows the kind of rights women had back in the early 1900s.



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