The Yellow Wallpaper 5 Essay Research Paper

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The Yellow Wallpaper 5 Essay, Research Paper Trapped Without and Within The Yellow Wallpaper , by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, tells the story of a woman trapped in her own life. Set in the 1800 s, a time when women and men s roles were strictly defined by society, the woman reveals her true to desire to break free from the confines of her marriage and her life. All the while, she experiences an extreme sense of guilt and shame for her negative view of her life, consciously repressing her innermost desires and joys. Her feelings are revealed through her bizarre relationship with the wallpaper in her room in the house she and her husband are renting for the summer. She develops an illogical perception of the wallpaper, ugly though it may be, symbolically putting her own views of

herself onto it. Eventually, the woman loses all ability to distinguish reality from illusion and completely loses her mind. Gilman suggests to the reader that by accepting the norms and roles of society and thus repressing one s true desires and feelings can only lead to a loss of identity and sanity. This attitude is brought to light in the reader s mind through observance of the woman s increasing mental instability as she gives more and more life to the wallpaper each time she resumes writing. At the beginning of her story, the woman reveals much about herself and the life she lives. She has a husband, John, who is a physician and seems to be more of a father than a companion. It is also learned that she suffers from a problem with depression, deemed a slight hysterical

tendency by her husband and accepted by her (425). Her secret opinion that the reason why she is sick and cannot get better is because her husband does not believe she is sick gives the reader the first insight into the woman s true self. Almost ashamed to even think that it is her husband s inability to accept her illness, the woman turns the problem back on herself. She proceeds to say that she gets unreasonably angry with her husband and is basely ungrateful , and that she must take pains to control her emotions. Leaving much to be questioned in the reader s mind as to the health of her marriage, she abandons the topic and instead describes the house. All is well until she gets to the room where she and her husband are staying. This room s wallpaper evokes a sense of anger and

passion from the woman as she calls it sprawling , flamboyant , dull , lame , and uncertain (426). Such strongly emotive words to describe such an inanimate object draw the reader to wonder if it is really the wallpaper which she feels about so deeply. One can see the correlation between the words describing the wallpaper and the feelings she seems to imply about herself earlier in her story. She quickly abandons her writings as she hears her husband approaching for fear he will be angry, introducing the reader to a sense of how extensively she represses her needs and desires to do what her husband wants. The next time the woman writes, the reader senses a slight change in her. She does not focus on her wants and thoughts; instead, she talks mostly of how bothersome and helpless

she is. The reader is told that she feels herself a burden on John and the rest of the household. It is also learned for the first time that she has a child, but only in passing. She simply states, It is fortunate Mary is so good with the baby. Such a dear baby! (426). There are no other implications of having a child before this, nor are there any in the rest of this entry, striking the reader as odd that a mother would not have any concern for or interaction with her own child. It is also apparent that her focus has shifted primarily to the wallpaper, and her feelings about it have intensified. She calls the paper atrocious and horrid , and begins giving it a life of its own. Her comment, This paper looks to me as if it knew what a vicious influence it had! strikes the reader