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Literary Analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman

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The author Charlotte Perkins Gillman wrote the “The Yellow Wallpaper” to express her thoughts and frustration on women’s oppression and how women were being constantly mistreated in the 1800’s. Gilman’s purpose for writing “The Yellow Wallpaper” was to show how women were being treated not only in that time period it was written but also throughout history. This was intended for women who suffered postpartum depression and for those who felt as if they were stuck in relationships that are unequal. In this literary analysis I will analyze how the author conveys her message in the novel.

Gilman wrote this story based on her own experience with depression and that plays a part into the figurative language, for example when she uses metaphors. In the story she uses a metaphor to explain how she felt about the wall when she says I think sometimes she fears that she will be trapped by herself but then she thinks if there are others suffering just like her. 

Gilman uses imagery of the wallpaper to signify the feeling of being trapped within your own thoughts which in term is the room in itself. Gilman uses a lot of imagery to vividly show how horrible and strange the yellow paper when she says “It’s a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others no wonder the children hated it, I would hate it if I lived here long”. I believe that Charlotte purposely did that to get the audience to see how the narrator thinks and how she will let the wall make her go crazy. 

Gillian uses imagery to compare the two, you see John as this dominant person than the narrator as this person who submits and is covered by his shadow. She does this for the purpose of expressing controlling relationships in which women were suppressed too. The story took place in the 1800’s and I feel as if that played a big role because back then women were considered weak physically and mentally. They really didn’t have a voice or role in that time and they were in the backgrounds of their husbands and seeing by the way John treated his wife in the story you could see she had no voice. 

Gillman uses this story to express double standards that women had to deal with during this time. In the story Gillian she writes “And I know John would think it’s absurd but I must say what and think in some ways it’s such a relief”. I believe that was double standard because John thinks her thoughts are ridiculous but she thinks they are reasonable. That showed how the narrator knew what her husband would think about her but her thoughts were her safe space. It helps the reader to understand that while she might have been married, they were not in an equal relationship, and he was always to be right, making her believe that only he knew what was right for her. It also helped represent the lack of communication between partners. 

Gilman used a confident but helpless tone for the narrator. In the story the narrator reveals that she doesn’t agree with the treatments that her husband and brother have recommended for her when she says, “Personally, I disagree with their ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good”. Her tone is confident because she feels like she knew what would be best for her so called ‘nervous condition’. 

Gilman sets up a tone of frustration in the beginning of the story when she says “John is physician and perhaps (I would not say a living soul of course but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind) perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster. You see, he does not believe I am sick!”. This frustrates the narrator because John chooses to not validate any concern and does not take her illness serious. This isn’t the first time we see it happen he constantly treats her as a child and as if she is not in the right state of mind, which she isn’t but what makes her frustrated is how he chooses not to listen to her ideas. John decided for his own sake that would not listen to her and because of that it drives the narrator to her breaking point and her hiding her thoughts from everyone makes her begin to fall into a deeper depression. Gilman sets another tone of frustration when she says “He laughs at me so about this wallpaper! At first he meant to repaper the room, but afterwards he said I was letting it get the better of me and that nothing was worse nervous patient than to give way to such fancies”. I think that seeing John laughing at her makes her angry and frustrated because she’s asking him to change the wallpaper and he’s like okay I will but then again no because you can’t let your silly fantasy get to you. 

Gilman uses sarcastic tone when she wrote. “Life is very much more exciting now than it used to be”. Her sarcastic and humorous tone makes the story more interesting because even though it is a story that has a deeper meaning in many ways her choice of words makes it feel a bit more lively. She uses small pieces of sarcasm to set a less gloomy feel. That line is important because we see how she’s is always scared to let out her thoughts and she is constantly being interested in what goes on around her which is why the author uses humor to lighten up the story a bit. 

In conclusion, the author in this story “The Yellow Wallpaper” used literary devices and tone to explain how she felt throughout her experience and created a story filled with imagery to show how she felt in that period of her life. She used this story to explain how she felt defeated and as if she had no voice. Gilman uses the hideous wallpaper to symbolize the domestic life that trapped so many women. Overall The Yellow Wallpaper gave many women a chance to express how they felt in the 1800’s a voice that even though one person wrote allowed women to relate to it, making The Yellow Wallpaper an important story that helped many women over the decades then and now. 

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The essay is informative, but contains repetitive words (please see my comment above). It needs work in terms of word choice, formal tone, and grammar. Also, the evidence provided needs to be cited with the author’s last name and page number.

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Literary Analysis Of The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gillman. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from
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