Wallpaper and Jane's Insanity in "The Yellow Wallpaper"

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Wallpaper Symbolizing Jane’s Insanity In the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman, the wallpaper causes and symbolizes Jane’s imprisonment which eventually causes her decent into insanity. Gilman shows this through the patterns and colors in the wallpaper itself, through the woman that she believes is stuck in the wallpaper, and when then wallpaper is finally taken down. As Jane continues to study the wallpaper, the different aspects that she discovers contribute to her eventual madness. The physical appearance of the wallpaper is directly symbolic of Jane’s situation. The yellowish color is affiliated with the weakness, and the powerlessness that she is feeling. The actual pattern of the wallpaper at first symbolizes the twists and winds of society and the difficulties of fitting in and following the rules. Eventually, once Jane studies the pattern and finds the order, she believes she understands it’s meaning. As the nights go on and she continues to study the paper, she finds that the pattern is like a prison, trapping everything inside it. She reflects her feelings of imprisonment by her husband, onto how she interprets the wallpaper. While she continues to find meaning in it, she becomes more and more insane. Eventually, Jane starts to feel as if the wallpaper is watching her. While she starts to decode it, she discovers a woman trapped in the bars of the pattern. The woman stuck in the wallpaper does circles and is sometimes able to crawl out through the window. Jane is reflecting her situation onto the wallpaper because much like the woman in the wallpaper, she’s stuck in her situation as well. Her husband confines her because of her sickness and he wants to keep her sheltered from the outside world. She is not allowed to work and has to stay in or around the house at all times. Her husband also babies her, treating her like she

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