The yellow wall paper

November 9, 2011
By mgo188 BRONZE, Oak Lawn, Illinois
mgo188 BRONZE, Oak Lawn, Illinois
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Using a feminist criticism, the reader can analyze Charlotte Perkins-Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper through Setting, Dialogue, symbols. This story takes place in a house that they have rented out because the narrator has a difference of opinion about how she wants to live her life compared to the rest of the women in that society. The society in the story was when men were more dominant than the women. The females back then didn’t really have a say in what they wanted to do. They were expected to be a house wife. John-(narrator’s husband) and Jennie-(his sister/ baby sitter) were trying to keep the narrator in the top room of the house so that no one knows that she wants to live on her own. Everyone would think that she’s crazy to not wanting to fit in with what society’s is pressuring her to be also they wouldn’t let her hold her own child, due to the fact that she’s “crazy”.

Symbolism is the key to the story, without knowing what the yellow wall paper symbolizes this story wouldn’t make sense to the reader. The yellow wallpaper symbolizes her individuality. When the passage said “the paper stained everything it touched” (Perkins) meant that society affects everyone whether they realize it or not. Society’s pressuring the narrator to be an ordinary house wife, and not to be an independent woman who doesn’t have to depend on anyone but herself. Also Jennie and john in the story do not want the narrator to be able to think for herself. They believe that if they allow the narrator to write her thoughts down onto her journal that she will go crazy. “The paper changes as the light changes” (Perkins) this describes the narrators own way of thinking because during the morning she acts like all the rest of the women but during the night she’s herself. The narrator said “… and it is like a women stopping 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!”(Perkins) The narrator is basically fed up with having to deal with everyone trying to tell her what she can and can’t do.

“I cry at nothing, and I cry most of the time. Of course I don’t when john is here, or anybody else, but when I am alone.”(Perkins) The narrator can’t even trust her own husband with the thought that she wants to be more independent. “Dear John! He loves me very dearly, and hates to have me sick.”(Perkins). the narrator is showing emotion to the reader by how shes trying to hold on to john, when john is starting to dislike her because of the fact that shes “sick”. “ I lie here on this great immovable bed- its nailed down.”(Perkins). Although she may feel like every-ones against her she at least has Jennie helping her by watching the baby. she wants to try and break society’s expectation's of the everyday common housewife.

The story took place at a house that john and the narrator had rented out. “ I don't like to look out the windows even-- there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast”(Perkins). Shes surrounded by “perfect” housewives who love being at home all day, doing as their told without complaining a tiny bit about it to their husbands. The main Setting for this passage would be the top bedroom of the house, because that is where all the action has taken place. When the narrator says she doesn't like to look out the window she feels the tension between her and society judging her. “ She tried to get me out of the room” (Perkins). This is when Jenna tried to get the narrator out of the room to try to stop her from writing down her own personal thoughts about being independent. Jennie is trying to make the narrator a “follower” by trying to get her out of her comfort zone.

In conclusion, a reader can analyze “The Yellow Wallpaper” by looking into setting, dialogue, and symbols. In the story Jane went from being a conforming female into a strong, independent female. Tired of her husband trapping her and oppressing her, she comes to a mental breakdown that allows her to have the power to speak up to him. Thanks to the wallpaper, she could then stop her husband from talking down to her, treating her unequally, and a whole lot of other oppressing elements; she was a hero for herself and just possibly for millions of other women.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!