The Yellow Paper is a symbolic story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It is a disheartening tale of a woman struggling to free herself from postpartum depression. This story gives an account of an emotionally and intellectual deteriorated woman who is a wife and a mother who is struggling to break free from her metal prison and find peace. The post-partum depression forced her to look for a neurologist doctor who gives a rest cure. She was supposed to have a strict bed rest. The woman lived in a male dominated society and wanted indictment from it as she had been driven crazy by as a result of the Victorian “rest-cure.” Her husband made sure that she had a strict bed rest by separating her from her child by taking her to recuperate in an isolated country estate. In her prison, she becomes obsessed with the intricate details of the wallpaper in her bedroom wall. She hallucinates that there is a woman that is trapped behind the yellow wallpaper.
The setting of the room symbolizes the loneliness the narrator is undergoing. The narrator has her mind encased that there is a woman struggling and in her solitary room, she feels its true and she is even seen fighting for her. The author used the room to symbolize what the main character was going through all alone in the isolated estate where she was brought by her husband. The yellow paper played a distinct reason for the narrator’s madness. In her writings, she explains that the more she became insane, the more the wall paper became a big issue to her that is why she smudged ultimately. Her attitude towards the wallpaper grew from bitterness to hate and she even feels that it smells. This symbolizes the hatred she had for the wallpaper because it highly contributed to her insanity. The yellow paper symbolizes how women were treated in the 19th century and how they fought against the male dominating society. The yellow paper book has an insightful symbolism and it is a representation of a real problem that was not solved because of ignorance. John failed to give his wife proper attention leading to the decline of her psychological state.
As the reader is introduced to the main character in the story, she is heard talking about strange things happening around her. She secretly wrote her thought in a journal but her husband was against it and never wanted her to do anything. The nameless narrator in her madness sees a woman in the pattern of the wallpaper. In addition, she sees the woman struggling against the bars of the paper and this is a symbol for the struggle of women who attempt to break out from the infringing rules of the society. The woman the narrator sees caught in the wallpapers also parallels her virtual imprisonment in an isolated estate away from her child by her mean husband.
The main character was suffering from more than just a post-partum depression but possibly a severe case of schizophrenia. While in the confinement, the narrator takes the reader through her declining mental...