This aids in leading to her mental condition deteriorating even further due to the fact that she must simply put up with her prison. As the story progressives and the narrator spends more of her time in the room the more she becomes accustomed to her prison. Her obsession with the yellow wallpaper that surrounds her constantly grows to an unhealthy addiction. “I’m getting really fond of the room in spite of the wallpaper. Perhaps because of the wallpaper.
The narrator describes the wallpaper as such, “The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing” (351). The yellow wallpaper itself signifies women being suppressed by the men in their lives and the inability to break their dominance. She also eventually sees a figure behind the wallpaper in the form of a creeping woman. The woman actually portrays the narrator herself. After staring at the wallpaper long enough, she finds that the pattern moves because of the woman behind it trying to get out.
The narrator’s obsession with the wallpaper that surrounds her bedroom begins merely as intrigue and climaxes to a point where reality and what she imagines within the wallpaper becomes blurred. This climax represents her journey from rationality to insanity as the wallpaper becomes more twisted and alive around her. This wallpaper ultimately represents the oppression of her mind that is being caused by her post partum depression, as well as her husband’s ineffective healing methods. At first she finds the wallpaper being “one of those sprawling, flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin” (Gilman 988). This could be a representation of the beginning of her depression which was initially just an annoyance to her which she does not fully understand.
She is introduced as a temptress or “looker” but later reveals a deeper character in the novel. Curley’s wife is powerless due to her gender. In the book, women are portrayed as troublemakers and Curley’s wife is defiantly included in this portrayal. She is described as a “tart”, “bitch”, and a “tramp”. The workers speak of her, basically, as Curley’s problem that needs to stay at home away from the other workers.
The yellow wallpaper In the story, wallpaper, a usually feminine, floral decoration on the interior of walls, is a symbol of female imprisonment within the domestic sphere. Over the course of the story, the wallpaper becomes a text of sorts through which the narrator exercises her literary imagination and identifies with a feminist double figure. When John curbs her creativity and writing, the narrator takes it upon herself to make some sense of the wallpaper. She reverses her initial feeling of being watched by the wallpaper and starts actively studying and decoding its meaning. She untangles its chaotic pattern and locates the figure of a woman struggling to break free from the bars in the pattern.
The wallpaper is used characterically to reflect the marriage the narrator finds herself ambushed inside. At the start of the short story, the wallpaper is merely seen as an aberrant bore, but as the narrative progresses, the wallpaper becomes much more baleful and frightening. As a site of symbolism, the symbol has three functions in Charlotte Perkins Gilman s ’, “The Yellow Wallpaper”: it reveals the wallpaper including the imagery, imprisonment and symbolism. The imagery of the wallpaper in Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” transitions as the short story is developed in order to emulate the increasing realization of the monopoly the narrator’s marriage has upon herself. The very first descriptions illustrate her initial animus by describing it as “one of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin” (Perkins 41-42).
The wife from “The Yellow Wallpaper” is obviously mentally ill. She might suffer from depression, schizophrenia, or a personality disorder, but we are never for sure. Throughout this literary work, the wife is shuffled around and not given much freedom. Her husband, a doctor, advises her of what to do and what not to do. For the majority of the piece, the wife is stuck in a room consisting of few objects and horrendously disturbing yellow wallpaper. Not only does her husband manipulate her into staying in bed and thinking she is completely helpless and ill, but the yellow wallpaper also manipulates her into having strange thoughts.
She takes the patients freedom away, and makes their stay at the hospital even worse. She does not let the men get a say in what they want, if they want something they get it after a long time, or they just do not get it at all. She knows the weak spots for all the patients, and just where to peck at them. The patients try to please her during the group meetings by telling her their darkest secrets, and then they feel deeply ashamed for how she made them act, even though they have done nothing. She maintains her power by the use of shame and guilt against the patients, making them feel horrible.
Gilman uses symbols to explain the how women are trapped in domestic life. The symbol that Gilman uses the yellow wallpaper in the room she is confined in. At first, the wallpaper is just awful as she says “The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow.” She is disgusted by it and understands why children, who have been in this room, would want to tear it down. Then, the wallpaper becomes a point of curiosity as she wants to discover the organization of the pattern. She said, “...and I determine for the thousandth time that I will follow that pointless pattern to some sort of a conclusion,” as if the wallpaper was made with symmetry in mind.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” is driven by the narrator’s sense that the wallpaper is a text she must interpret, that it symbolizes something that affects her directly. Accordingly, the wallpaper develops its symbolism throughout the story. At first it seems merely unpleasant: it is ripped, soiled, and an “unclean yellow.” The worst part is the ostensibly formless pattern, which fascinates the narrator as she attempts to figure out how it is organized. After staring at the paper for hours, she sees a ghostly sub-pattern behind the main pattern, visible only in certain light. Eventually, the sub-pattern comes into focus as a desperate woman, constantly crawling and stooping, looking for an escape from behind the main pattern, which has come to resemble the bars of a cage.