The setting and its impact as seen in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wall-Paper"

Essay by misbranUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2002

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In many pieces of American literature, it seems all too often that we simply skim through a piece to learn the plot and the basis of the story. Most people will be able to tell you the plot of the story, but will eliminate the characters or the setting not realizing the impact these elements have on a piece of literature. The setting of a story, defined as the time and place of occurrence, is an extremely important aspect of any literary work. In many cases, the setting will allow you to understand the character on a higher level rather than the dialect or actions of him or her alone.

In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wall-Paper the setting of the story is the most important feature. Without Gilman allowing us such a descriptive setting, you are left solely in the mind of a woman who has seemingly gone insane.

You would not know what she sees, what she believes she sees, or understand her maddening by her thoughts if they were not to include her surroundings. Could you imagine The Yellow Wall-Paper without the wallpaper? Or without the room that trapped her? We would be left we a very uninteresting display of psychosis with very little basis.

From the very beginning of Gilman's work we are introduced to the setting of the story. "A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity?but that would be asking too much of fate" (pp 657). Already, from the second line of the story, you can begin to picture what she sees. Before one turns the page an image has settled into their mind, an image that will live with them until the conclusion. Myself, I picture an awkwardly beautiful mansion set back...