“The Yellow Wallpaper” Setting Symbollisum

“The Yellow Wallpaper”,by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is narrated by the protagonist, in which struggles with her psychological difficulties through a wallpaper. Her infatuation with the wallpaper, love/hate relationship takes over, and alters her thinking as time progresses. This psychological tale analysis’s the position of women in a marriage during their era. Her husband who is also is physician , attempts to cure her depression, which only worsens while he continues to suppress her from society.

The story beings with a detailed description of her new house she was brought to by her husband for a better life. The “quite along” house which was “standing well back from the road,” signifies the way of life the married couple are to live. Seclusion from the world with no growth, change, allowing ones mind to wonder. John, the husband preferred his wife to live in seclusion as “treatment” with no remorse. The description of her house is an interpretation of her life, and hidden emotion. The “walls and gates that lock” implies the deep suppression and feeling of discomfort with her very existence at the time. The objects accent her life in confinement, and by her actions and words, hit her need to be released. John comes to a decision that their bed room was to be upstairs, with “windows that looked all ways.” The window and mention of the room upstairs represents enlightenment, opening opportunity for his beloved wife to be mended of her disease. Sunlight shines through the window, representing the rebirth and hope of the recuperating wife. The Garden in the new found home portrays what is believed to be paradise. The reason for the new home is for the narrators health to strengthen, paradise working as a sense of relaxation is attempt aid her to health.

Yellow enacts in a large role throughout the story, signifying treachery and cowardice. The narrator is infatuated with the color and design, which puts a decline in her psychological state leading to her insanity. During one evening while the moon, representing death and rebirth, is in sight the wife attempts to address an issue with her husband. Of course her presentation was unsuccessful, as the husband continues to deny her right of freedom. The moon foreshadows the death of her idea. The description of the wallpaper symbolizes her internal struggles as she portrays the ideas through an object. In attempt to translate the object, she conveyed her own thoughts towards the world and society.

The various light projections the narrator distinguishes symbolizes the rise and declines in the characters personality. The wallpaper is said to have different “shades” each of which the narrator has a different attitude towards. Throughout the whole story the narrator’s attitude towards the wallpaper as well as her husband alters dramatically as time progresses. Her opinions on the “wallpaper” are grasped from her true inner feelings of life itself.

During an evening, that narrator was attempting to address her husband yet again. The evening representing death of dreams and hopes foreshadows the fact it was an attempt, not able to process her request her husband yet again. At one point the wallpaper was being described by a certain ray of light coming through the window. The sun shining through the “east window” portrays the hint of hope she has for life, as it is quickly taken away once the light leaves the east window.

The fog mentioned resembles her uncertainty at this point of the story. There mystical wallpaper is taking over the narrator, effecting her opinion on the matter. Mentally straining the idea because of its uncertainty, the narrator battles between the mixed feelings making the cause of it the “wallpaper.”

In the last scene, John is attempting to break down the “door” to get to his wife. The door acts as a shut opportunity for John, and protection for the narrator, allowing her to possess opinion, purpose, and freedom at last.

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