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 central character’s analysis of a fictional woman trapped behind the bars of the horrid yellow wallpaper that encased the room she was confined to, severed her identity as she suppressed the anxieties of her experiences and ultimately led to the demise of the boundaries between herself and the imagined woman. In the beginning, the woman in the paper was merely the protagonist’s own shadow. The yellow wallpaper was a constant source of angst for her and she spent much time studying it. At first, the many different patterns in the paper are simply never-ending without any conclusions. However, as her mental illness advances and the constant isolation from everyone continues, she starts obsessing over the wallpaper and an actual form begins to take shape among the patterns.
The wallpaper is at first a great annoyance to Jane as she claims that it is confusing and contradicting. Jane was a writer and was not permitted to express herself through the means of writing. She is not only affected by the physical restraints of being inside the room alone, but the yellow wallpaper is dreadful and fosters only negative creativity. Jane's negative thoughts are first displayed through "It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions." This is displaying the beginning of her negative thoughts which is the contribution to her spiralling into insanity since her disease confuses her mind and contradicts her logic, the paper parallels her mental state at this point.
Once the woman character in this short story develops her own sense of control apart from her husband she can plan her flight to freedom. This occurs when she rebels and rips down the wallpaper that has driven her insane. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is told by a woman whose husband, a physician, confines her to the upstairs bedroom of a house the family has rented for the summer. Forbidden from working and thinking, the woman begins to crave stimulation. Her husband, John, confines her to the nursery, because he treats her as a child, “It is a big, airy room, the whole floor nearly, with windows that look all ways, and air and sunshine galore.
The wallpaper like John is a confine in which neither woman can escape from. The many heads in the wallpaper are the activities that the narrator wants to do such as writing, seeing her Cousin Henry and Julia, and sleeping downstairs. “I don’t like to look out the window even- there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast”(434). The women creeping outside are women like the narrator who are oppressed and have to do things in secret just like the narrator secretly tried to
The Yellow Wallpaper The final lines for “The Yellow Wallpaper” make me believe that the narrator has finally slipped into insanity. I think Jane is actually the narrator, and when she slips into insanity she feels that she has finally escaped from the torments of her own mind. The longer the narrator stays in the bedroom with the yellow wallpaper, the more she feels she is in prison, and the woman she sees imprisoned behind the wallpaper symbolizes her and how she feels. The narrator becomes desperate to free the woman behind the wallpaper before their rental is up, because she thinks that freeing the woman in the wallpaper will be freeing herself from her prison. At the end, the narrator briefly considers committing suicide with the rope
“I never saw a worse paper in my life.” As the narrative develops, her later feelings start to contradict her initial emotions and her behaviour becomes more irrational. “...It is like the colour of the paper! A yellow smell.” The suggestion of the wallpaper having a smell indicates a lingering odour which is perhaps metaphoric of the woman having the wallpaper consistently on her mind. She has become so entirely absorbed by the wallpaper that she is now letting it dictate her senses. As the story develops the woman’s descent into madness can start to be seen more clearly as she reveals her obsessive and protective nature over the wallpaper.
He also puts her under the intense scrutiny. While under this confinement, she begins to go mad. She believes the wallpaper is monitoring her, and she eventually sees herself as a prisoner inside it. Her fear towards her oppressive husband is clearly demonstrated when she says, “There comes John, and I must put this away- he hates to have me write a word” (Gillman
“The Yellow Wallpaper” Essay “The Yellow Wallpaper” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman depicts the effect of confinement on the narrator's mental health and her mental breakdown. She becomes obsessed by the pattern and color of the wallpaper. "It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! Even though she hates the wallpaper, the narrator is also strangely fascinated by it. The mental restraints placed upon the narrator, even more so than the physical ones, are what ultimately drive her insane.
Metaphorical Meaning of the Yellow Wallpaper in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Short Story “The Yellow Wallpaper” The short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman portrays the central theme of women being restricted, more specifically women who are married and/or undergoing a mental illness. In the short story, there is a reoccurring symbol of wallpaper that commits “every artistic sin” and that the narrator seems to be focused on yet disgusted by. This wallpaper metaphorically represents the narrator’s state of mind through the detailed description of the pattern, color, and lines reflecting her constant confusion and her role as a wife and mother. The narrator’s vivid description of the patterns mirrors the thoughts flowing in her mind. The wallpaper’s tendency to go into knots and “pointless patterns” of lines with no ending imitates her mind; the wallpaper just like her thoughts is a loop that always moves in never-ending circles.