Yellow Wallpaper Analysis

1272 Words6 Pages
Short Story Analysis Have we ever read a story that just didn’t make sense at all when first read? That the descriptions in the paper just create vivid pictures in our mind that are kind of disturbing. That is exactly how this short story was constructed. In The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the author uses symbolism, imagery, irony, and theme to show the subordination and trapped role of women in domestic life. 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. After staring at the wallpaper for hours, she starts to notice a sub-pattern that is visible in a certain light. As she says, “Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast …they get through, and then the pattern strangles them off.” What she sees in this sub-pattern is 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. She sees this cage as festooned with the heads of many women, all of whom were strangled as they tried to escape. The wallpaper represents the structure of family, medicine, and tradition in which she finds herself trapped. Gilman uses this nightmarish, hideous paper as a symbol of the domestic life that
Open Document