Analysis of "The Yellow WallPaper"

Essay by TEH2711College, UndergraduateA+, May 2005

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An Analysis of "The Yellow Wallpaper"

One of the most inspiring short stories I have read was "The Yellow Wallpaper", written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. In this story Gilman uses the narrator's postpartum depression as a way to disguise the point she is trying to make. The symbolism of "The Yellow Wallpaper" can be recognized right away. In most literary works the problems or views of society are often included. Although Gilman's story reads as if she is simply telling the story of a woman's depression, the issue of women's equality is apparent.

The relationship between the narrator and her husband would be disagreeable to a modern woman's relationship now. Today, most women want equality with their partner. The reader never learns the name of the narrator, maybe to make it look like she could be any woman. On the first page of "The Yellow Wallpaper", Gilman shows the male dominated society and relationship.

It was typical of the time for men to think that they knew it all and for them to treat women as children.

John, the narrator's husband, is a well-known doctor and both his and his wife's words and actions reflect the previously mentioned stereotype: "John laughs at me; of course one expects that in marriage." This statement demonstrates the obvious sexism of society at that time. John does not believe that his wife is sick, while she is really suffering from postpartum depression. He neglects to listen to his wife's thoughts, feelings and health through his way of thinking. He dismisses her requests and thoughts as childish "fancies". According to him, there is nothing wrong with his wife except for temporary nerve issues, which should not be serious.

John feels rest and relaxation are what is...