Who Is That Woman Inside the Wallpaper

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Tracey Holloway English Literature 2328 Professor Solak October 5, 2013 Who is That Woman inside the Wallpaper? Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” takes place in the late 1890’s. Her protagonist appears to be suffering from postpartum depression and slowly losing her mind while in the home she has been sent to for treatment. Yet upon further investigation into the character of our nameless narrator, the reader learns that the story is essentially focused on her struggle to maintain her own identity and sanity within the limitations of her setting. 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. Confirming this the protagonist writes in her journal, “I didn’t realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a woman” (Gilman 799). As the story and the loss of the narrator’s mind progresses, the transitioning of the patterns in the paper changing from disorganization into the form of a woman coincides with the transference of her own identity. Originally, shadows within her surroundings also appeared to be the woman behind the paper. She

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