The Yellow Wall-paper

October 31, 2011
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Imagine being trapped, keeping everything inside of you is not good. It keeps piling on and on before you burst in the most unexpected time. Using Feminist criticism the reader can analyze Charlotte Perkins – Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper through characters, symbols, and dialogue.
Gilman used characterizations throughout the story to send out the narrator’s message. “Personally I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good.” (1) The narrator in this story is a woman who does not have a say in anything because women in the 1800s did not have the right to express themselves like women can today. She thinks she is sick because she wants to have a say in what she does and cannot do. The narrator and her family stay at a colonial mansion, she is to stay in this room which she truly hates because of the wallpaper and barred windows. John thinks that he is helping her get better by leaving her in there to rest and relax her nervous depression. Although she is up there alone when John is at work she is being watched by her caretaker Jenny. “I verily believe she thinks it is the writing which made me sick!” (1)That is the perfect time she can write about what she thinks and no one can interrupt her. In her journal she is able to express her emotions on the room and her opinions on anything she wants to.
The narrator in the story uses the yellow wallpaper to express herself. She dislikes the room she and her husband John stay in for the summer because of the wall-paper’s color and pattern. In her writing she always talks about the pattern and how she sees a shadow behind the paper. “The front pattern does move—and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it, I pulled and she shook, I shook and she pulled.”(5). The narrator tries to set the shadow free from behind the wallpaper. She finally had one more day left at the mansion during that summer so her mission was to get the shadow out and set it free. Later that day she had all the wallpaper peeled off with the shadow. She was finally on her own now, she liked the room now. “I don’t want to go out, and I don’t want to have anybody come in, till John comes.”(15). He fainted from being so shocked at what he saw.
There was many dialogue used in this story, lots of it helped me understand the hidden messages. “I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus—but John says the very worst thing I can do is think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad. So I will let it alone and talk about the house.”(3). This is where she is lost in her identity and she cannot express her opinions. In addition another one stating what she knew and others didn’t. “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.”(6). It was she who was behind, mirroring society and acting like everyone else did. Even though she knew it was wrong.
In conclusion The Yellow Wall-paper by Charlotte Perkins uses Character, Symbol and dialogue in the story to express the wallpaper and the narrator. The trapped woman is the narrator trying to stand on her own and make her own decisions without her husband and society judging her. She had to free herself finally before she actually became crazy in the room. Mirroring her life inside that patterned yellow wall-paper.





Work Cited
The yellow wall-paper: Charlotte Perkins- Gilman. Pages 1-17.





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