The yellow wallpaper 5

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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...