The Critics On The Yellow Wallpaper



            Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born in 1860 in Connecticut. She was raised in poverty and was left by her father at a young age.  As the result, she only had four years of formal education. At the age of twenty-one , she married Charles Walter Stetson and gave birth to a daughter. Soon, she suffered a mental breakdown and was treated with ‘rest cure’. Her condition worsen during the treatment .The Yellow Wallpaper was published in 1892 and is believed to be based on her illness. The Yellow Wallpaper set in the late nineteenth century in America, in a huge summer house, particularly in one bedroom upstairs.

            The story started with the narrator describing the huge mansion that his husband rent for her  ‘Rest and Cure Treatment’. She had a queer feeling about the house and mentioned that she doesn’t like her room that is wrapped with an ugly yellow wallpaper. She complained that her husband belittle her illness and  she doesn’t like the treatment that she undergo. She is forbidden to write, thus she secretly keeping a journal and hide it from his husband. She kept describing her room and were disturbed with the yellow wallpaper. The rising action is when her dislike of the yellow wallpaper slowly turned into an obsession, she kept observing the wallpaper until she realized there’s something behind all of the patterns. She spending most of her time figuring the pattern of the wallpaper. Her husband thought she is getting well because she slept a lot in the day without realizing that she merely slept at night observing the wallpaper. Subsequently, her imaginations grew bigger and she realized the woman trapped behind the wallpaper is her. The falling action is when she torn the wallpaper to release the woman that was trapped. She lock herself in a room and start losing control, her husband faint to see her conditions .At the end, she kept crawling over his fainted husband.

This story rendered the theme of the subordination of women in marriages. The narrator exposed the fact that she is being patronized by her husband. Her husband made all the decisions for her and left her confined. The period of The Yellow Wallpaper  was written is in the late 1800s where the women mostly stay at home doing chores while theirs husband work. The women are meant to seek fulfillment at home. Minimal characters were used in this short story. The protagonist which is the narrator described as a mental patient that going trough ‘Rest and Cure” treatment. Her name was not mentioned but she is illustrated as a young upper-middle class woman. Throughout the story, she was patronized and belittled by his husband which was actually the main reason of her illness. The narrator was very imaginative and love to write. The treatment had lead her into madness as she began to imagined things. The second character is John. He is the narrator’s husband and worked as a physician. He makes every decisions for her because he wants the best for her. The narrator said that his husband is “practical in the extreme”. He doesn’t believe in superstitions and embodied a ultimate rationality causing the narrator to kept everything as secrets. The third character doesn’t play a huge role which is Jennie, John’s sister who does all the chores for the narrator. She is portrayed as an ideal woman at that time .

Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote this story based on her experience. She use first-person narration and gave the center of attention on her thoughts ,feelings and perceptions. The tone used by the writer is in a state of anxiety dappled with sarcasm, rage and desperation. She used ‘The Wallpaper’ to symbolize the cage that trapped many women in a domestic marriage.

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