Gilman’s essay shows that not all women were content staying in their set domain of domesticity, and she uses both the narrator and the image of the woman in the wallpaper to represent all women who desire to break free from their set domain. By leaving the narrator nameless, Gilman shows the limits society puts on where women can find their identity, but more importantly allows the reader to place themselves in the narrator’s position. With that, the process of the narrator’s going insane is more relevant, and boldly demonstrates why women need to permeate through the walls that have closed them off from the world. “The Yellow Wallpaper” directly addresses movements such as domestic ideology, causing readers to realize the wrongfulness in limiting the basis of a woman’s identity to her domestic
Towards the end of the story, the narrator begins to obsess over the yellow wallpaper that covers the walls of the nursery. She eventually begins to see what she describes as a female figure trapped behind the bar-like pattern and comes to believe that she and the figure are suffering from the oppression of being imprisoned. As her preoccupation of the wallpaper pattern progresses, she no longer has the desire to become who her family wishes her to be and instead thinks only of how she can go about releasing the woman from the wallpaper. She grows more obsessive and insane with the passing of each day. In the end of the story, the narrator has lost all sense of reality, and John discovers her crawling around on the floor of the nursery, following the pattern of the wallpaper.
The wallpaper in the woman’s room represents imprisonment and this is strongly shown when she says, “The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out” (Gilman). The imprisonment image is created because she repeatedly asks to remove the wallpaper but isn’t allowed and she is evidently trapped in the room, just as the figure in the pattern seems to be trapped in the wall. Gilman also shows how obsessive she has become with the wallpaper and why she is so obsessed when she describes the wallpaper, “At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be”. The woman in the pattern that she refers to is actually her.
As the story transpires, Jane's unknown figure becomes all that is known to her; however, because of what is expected of her as a woman it is difficult for her to acknowledge her own self as she is afraid of her own monstrosity. Her repression is what initiates her transgression of becoming this unknown figure, and through excessive behaviour and desire she is able to recognize her situation as everything she is initially told is meant to keep her in the dark. Living in the nineteenth century, Jane has an extensive amount of pressure to be the perfect housewife and comply to her domestic expectations. Women have little rights and respect, and they must pursue their roles as women and tend to their husband and children's needs without complaint. Jane is very aware of these pressures placed upon her, as she is constantly describing how she must make John happy, and get well for John and the baby.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote a piece named “The Yellow Wallpaper”, where the narrator of the story is vividly entangled in her imagination causing her artistic impulses to consume her emotions. She is a “closet psychotic” as she does not disclose this infatuation of the yellow wallpaper to anyone around her. Charlotte Perkins Gilman writes a complex story where the narrator is trapped in her secret obsession of unraveling what’s inside this “yellow wallpaper”, which then drives her imaginative creativity, into insanity. The narrator begins by informing the reader how she and her family have recently started to stay in a new house for a little while so she may receive complete rest. This respite was prescribed to her by her husband, a physician.
The wallpaper, a usually feminine, floral decoration on the interior of walls is used to symbolize the sphere because she is unable to break free from the room, like the narrator who is imprisoned and unable to escape without being strangled by the bars of social expectation. The wallpaper is the thing that the narrator exercises her imagination and identifies with a feminist double figure. When John curbs her creativity and writing, the narrator reverses her initial feeling of being watched by the wallpaper and started actively studying and decoding its meaning. She unties its chaotic pattern and locates the figure of a woman struggling to break free from the bars in the pattern. As her insanity gradually deepens, she is preoccupied with one woman behind the wallpaper and identifies completely with this woman, believing that she is also trapped within the bar-like pattern of the wallpaper.
Then the narrator becomes worse. She starts seeing a woman in the walls. Later, the narrator tears the wallpaper to get the woman out, which is when the narrator's illness is the worst. Gilman writes, "I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did?" (755).
Her mind becomes an abyss of nothingness as she emulates the object she once loathed. Charlotte Perkins’ the yellow wallpaper encounters numerous levels to which it can be read. The most simple being a woman slowly being driven mas. Also showing the social structure of a family and how the male is the dominant being and what he says is expected to be obeyed. The yellow wallpaper can also be read through the eyes of phycology and the making of a mental patient, how a woman locked up and restricted from using her mind is slowly suffocated by her madness.
With an unequal marriage and a woman which let her self-expression ruin her, was the short story "The Yellowwallpaper," a great story to talk about the theme of gender. The theme of gender also has to do with how far the story dates back which is in the 1800's, this focusing on how much pain this woman is in with no place to run. Gilman narrates the story to let the reader have a better look at what this woman is feeling and how she reacts to her surroundings. She actually turns to her husband whom which is a doctor and her companion and he dismisses the notion of her mental illness. He sort of traps her in a controlled space by taking her to a secluded house with no human contact besides her sister, Jennie, and himself who both look at her illness in the same way.
The way John creates a sudden fear in his wife which provokes her to startle and hide her journal speaks volumes of his influence over her life. Gilman’s use of symbolism first begins to take flight when the woman in her story suddenly begins to notice the wallpaper. It becomes evident only through her use of symbolism that controlling men trap women from all of their potential. The wallpaper in her story symbolizes women who have long been repressed by such men, and by society. Gilman demonstrates this very notion in the slightest ways, such as when the woman first describes the wallpaper as if it had been used by a room of boys: “The paint and paper look as if a boy’s school had used it.