The Yellow Wallpaper and the Feminine Struggle: An analysis of symbolism of the Wallpaper

Essay by LittleSaraUniversity, Bachelor'sB, July 2008

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The Yellow Wallpaper was written in 1892 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It was written as a protest for the "rest cure' prescribed to women suffering from mental aliments such as hysteria and post-partum depression during her the nineteenth century. This work of literature is seeping with symbolism that is used as a way for the author to convey to others the poor treatment of women by the masculine society of the time.

The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story told by an unnamed female narrator who has been prescribed the "rest cure" by her doctor. Her doctor is also her husband John. She is to spend her summer in a mansion rented by her husband resting. She is not allowed to do anything that may cause stress to her fragile female mind. However, she begins to keep a journal in secret. In her journal she writes about the house, her maid and husband, and she write in great detail about the yellow wallpaper that covers the walls of the room she is usually confined to.

As she studies the wall paper she becomes convinced there is a woman hiding beneath it. She becomes obsessed with wallpaper and it's "secret." As the days pass her mental stability begins to rapidly decline into insanity. She will eventually lock herself in her room and peel the wallpaper from the wall in order to free the trapped woman inside.

While on the surface the story makes a statement about the authors experiences of near insanity because of the "rest cure's" negative effects there are hidden secrets under the written words. In this the wallpaper its self is like an analogy for the double meanings in the written work. She uses her words to hide her true...