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The Yellow Wallpaper

Imagine you were mentally insane, and you got locked in a room, all dirty and nasty somewhat like a jail. Well imagine you’re in the nineteen hundreds when things were run very differently. Using feminist criticism, the reader can analyze Charlotte Perkins-Gilman’s, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, through the dialogue, symbolism, and setting of the story. A crazy look into the nineteenth century, where women had very few rights and men didn’t treat women with respect.


The wallpaper in her isolated room was yellow with designs. The narrator thought of the wall paper as, “Her repressed other”, or “suppressed self”. The narrator constantly compares herself to the distinct color of the wallpaper, and she believes it matches her opposite. Her mental state at this time in the story can explain why she is giving such a “different” outlook on herself. The wallpaper may symbolize the society around her. For example, when society tries to push her back from what she wants to do she doesn’t want to, she would rather act herself and not worry about anyone else but herself. Which is how the wallpaper seems to stick out like a sore thumb, the wallpaper is bright and yellow, as the rest of the house is old, dusty, and plain. Second Daylight may be another cause of her illness. The day light symbolizes when someone should be proper, and act correctly around peers. As the night time is when anyone can do anything they want, without permission. Although the narrator decided to act upon her own and no matter what time of day she acts the way she does. So in some way the daylight is like society trying to act against her own ways in life. Charlotte just wants to be herself and society won’t let her. The way society treats her isn’t equal.
The dialogue in “The Yellow Wallpaper” is very interesting. “He loves me dearly, and hates to have me sick. I tried to have a real earnest talk with him the other day and tell him how I wish he would let me go and visit to Cousin Henry and Julia’s. But he said I wasn’t able to go, nor be able to stand it after I got there.” – Perkins-Gilman. This can mean many of things. Such as her husband John, who would not let her do something she wanted to. That’s an act of suppressing her just like the bars on the window. John is acting like the society at their time, very disrespectful. “There is one marked peculiarity about this paper; a thing nobody seems to notice but myself, and that is that it changes as the light changes.” This could also mean a lot of things, first that when the sunlight hits the wall paper the color stays the same, as to when society sees the narrator; she must stay the same proper person. The opposite happens when the daylight fades, the opposite personality comes out. The Wallpaper may have been bright but how is the rest of the house.
The nineteen hundreds, in a society where women are lower than males. Where huge colonial mansions were scattered throughout the lands. From dusty counter tops, to nailed down beds, these household were nothing but clean or happy. More of a haunted house this house seemed like. Barred windows, dark paint, and not a very good place to be at. This house really doesn’t reach the height of romantic felicity. The locks on the door, and the dust were just the start. The outside of this colonial type mansion was very grimy, and un-washed. The era that this house was created in did not have very good health benefits. The wallpaper on the walls in the room although it’s bright, its only bright during sunlight, and as the sun sets, the dustiness of the area, and the area surrounding shows its ugliness.

Using feminist criticism, the reader can analyze Charlotte Perkin-Gilman’s, “The Yellow Wallpaper” through the dialogue, symbolism and setting. The entire book can relate to basically anyone in this world today. Society shuns upon its fellow people, such as in high schools, and other events. This book related to those situations. And can teach the proper way to deal with it. The intelligence of the author explains how well written this novel was.





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