The Symbols Of Women Oppression In The Yellow Wallpaper

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

The Yellow Wallpaper story is based on the men dominated society in the nineteenth century. The story depicts the married life of narrator who is in depression and her husband. “Charlotte Perkins Gilman” tries to tell the readers about the mental harassment and physical abuse faced by narrator after marriage. It shows how the woman is supposed to follow the instructions of her husband and has no rights except what her husband allows her to do. The story reveals the outcomes of the differentiation of gender roles made by the society, according to which a man as a husband has been considered a rational thinker, on the other side a woman has to always obey the man. The name of the woman in the story has kept secrete whereas the word yellow refers to the mental illness and wallpaper is symbolised as mind and life of the woman.

The man has been considered such a superior in the society that even the occupation of a man has no concern with his role as a husband when it comes to treat his wife by him as a part of his profession in the story. The narrator has complaint that even the medical establishments of her time have failed to cure her health issues because the narrator’s husband is a physician and still, he does not know how to cure a patient with mental issues. (Gilman)

The entire social environment is symbolised by the wallpaper. The narrator feels herself entrapped physically as well as mentally and this was forced by her husband under mandatory rest-cure treatment. The narrator is supposed to stay in a room where she is totally cut off to the outside world. She says, that wallpaper as the worst paper of her life which has locked her in a room, where she has nothing to do rather struggling with her own thoughts. (Gilman) Her loneliness increased her sickness level.

The narrator has been restricted to do a single activity without the permission of her husband. For instance, in the story when she wants to write something she said “There comes John, and I must put this away – he hates to have me write a word” (Gilman, The yellow wallpaper).Her husband and sister- in- law considers narrator’s this hobby as the reason of her nervousness and emotional nature. In order to treat the mental disorder of narrator, her husband bought an old mansion in the countryside to provide freshness to narrator but that made her feel entrapped and she described that as a haunted house in the story (Gilman, The yellow wallpaper)

The story was written at the time when women were not listened in the society. The narrator tried to bring some aspects of woman’s life to the knowledge of the readers through a story. The narrator has been seen against the male domination and to bring the gender equality in the society as a whole. The yellow wallpaper has many symbols that elucidates the narrator’s thoughts. Narrator’s illness has been manipulated by the people around her. She found herself embarrassed in hate, care and love of her family members for her. She feels inferior when she has been treated as a child due to her disorder. The author has clearly explained what type of problems a woman faces after her marriage in a male dominated society and how she is not allowed to live her life in her own way.


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