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Internal Struggles in "The Yellow Wallpaper"

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Words: 797 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Words: 797|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Table of contents

  1. The Conflict Between Societal Expectations and Individual Desires
  2. The Battle Against One's Own Mind
  3. Implications on the Narrator's Mental State and Well-being

The short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman explores the theme of internal struggles through the experiences of the unnamed narrator. This narrative delves into the conflict between societal expectations and individual desires, as well as the battle against one's own mind. Through the use of vivid imagery and symbolism, Gilman effectively portrays the protagonist's journey towards self-discovery and liberation. This essay will examine the internal struggles depicted in "The Yellow Wallpaper" and analyze their implications on the narrator's mental state and overall well-being.

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The Conflict Between Societal Expectations and Individual Desires

One of the central internal struggles in "The Yellow Wallpaper" is the conflict between societal expectations and the narrator's individual desires. The protagonist, a woman suffering from postpartum depression, is confined to a room in a colonial mansion by her husband and advised to rest and avoid any intellectual or creative activities. This confinement represents the restrictive nature of society's expectations for women at the time, which prevented them from pursuing their own aspirations and desires.

The yellow wallpaper itself becomes a symbol of the narrator's entrapment and longing for freedom. As the story progresses, the protagonist develops an obsession with the wallpaper, stating, "I never saw a worse paper in my life. ... The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight" (Gilman). The conflict between the narrator's personal distaste for the wallpaper and her fascination with it mirrors her internal struggle between conforming to societal expectations and embracing her individual desires.

Furthermore, the conflict between societal expectations and individual desires is further highlighted by the narrator's desire for intellectual stimulation. She expresses her longing for mental engagement, stating, "Personally, I disagree with their ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good" (Gilman). This longing for intellectual stimulation and creative expression represents the protagonist's yearning to break free from the confinements imposed upon her by society.

The Battle Against One's Own Mind

Another significant internal struggle depicted in "The Yellow Wallpaper" is the battle against one's own mind. As the protagonist spends more time in the room with the yellow wallpaper, her mental state deteriorates. She becomes increasingly fixated on the wallpaper, seeing patterns and images that are not actually there. This descent into madness reflects the internal conflict within the narrator's mind.

The narrator's obsession with the wallpaper is a manifestation of her own suppressed desires and frustrations. She states, "I don't like to look out of the windows even - there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast. I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did?" (Gilman). This statement reveals the narrator's fear of losing herself and becoming trapped within the confines of societal expectations, much like the creeping women she imagines in the wallpaper.

The internal struggle against her own mind is further intensified by the narrator's battle to maintain her sanity. She grapples with her conflicting perceptions of reality and her growing paranoia. The protagonist states, "I don't want to go out, and I don't want to have anybody come in, till John comes. I want to astonish him" (Gilman). This desire to astonish her husband demonstrates the narrator's desperate attempt to cling to her sanity and assert her individuality.

Implications on the Narrator's Mental State and Well-being

The internal struggles faced by the narrator in "The Yellow Wallpaper" have significant implications on her mental state and overall well-being. The confinement imposed upon her by her husband and society exacerbates her postpartum depression and contributes to her descent into madness. The lack of intellectual stimulation and creative expression further deteriorates her mental health.

The narrator's obsession with the yellow wallpaper and her identification with the creeping women within it symbolize her own internal conflicts. As she becomes more entangled in her fixation with the wallpaper, her mental state deteriorates further. The protagonist states, "I pulled and she shook, I shook and she pulled, and before morning we had peeled off yards of that paper" (Gilman). This act of tearing down the wallpaper represents the narrator's ultimate rebellion against the societal constraints that have been imposed upon her.

In conclusion, "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman explores the internal struggles of the protagonist through the conflicts between societal expectations and individual desires, as well as the battle against one's own mind. Through vivid imagery and symbolism, Gilman effectively portrays the protagonist's journey towards self-discovery and liberation. The implications of these internal struggles on the narrator's mental state and overall well-being highlight the detrimental effects of societal constraints on individual freedom and happiness. It serves as a reminder of the importance of embracing one's own desires and maintaining a balanced mental state for a fulfilling life.

Bibliography:

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Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wallpaper." The New England Magazine, January 1892.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Internal Struggles in “The Yellow Wallpaper”. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 24, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/internal-struggles-in-the-yellow-wallpaper/
“Internal Struggles in “The Yellow Wallpaper”.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/internal-struggles-in-the-yellow-wallpaper/
Internal Struggles in “The Yellow Wallpaper”. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/internal-struggles-in-the-yellow-wallpaper/> [Accessed 24 Jul. 2024].
Internal Struggles in “The Yellow Wallpaper” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 24]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/internal-struggles-in-the-yellow-wallpaper/
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