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"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Use of Symbolism, Foreshadowing and Irony to Show Female Oppression

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Female oppression has always been a great problem back in the years. Females were asked to live under the shadow of their spouses and not have an idea of their own. Females were suppressed treated like an item and not like humans and equals as their partner. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” we can see how Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses symbolism, foreshadowing and irony to express how female oppression was in the late 1800 early 1900.

Nowadays we have Feminism but things have not always been the same. Today we live in a world were females can work and have the same right to speak as men we are somewhat equal to men except in salary but it has not always been like that. in the early 1900 we see thru many short stories how females were living under their husbands rules and commandments. Females didn’t have the right to vote nor make any house hold decision. Men tough that “Women ought to stay at home; the way they were created indicates this, for they have broad hips and a fundament to sit upon, keep house and bear and raise children”. No one ever realized that all this behavior rules were causing females to go into depression and live unhappy like if their life had no sense and they were just an item. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a short story that Gilman Wrote to try to inspire woman in that time to come out and have a mind of their own.

To Begin with Gillman uses symbolism to express how the female is the story was nameless which meant she didn’t have an identity, that she was someone who was not worthy of a name. The character was a child in her husband’s eye were she had to we watched and have someone take care of her. John the Husband places the character in a room were she notices that “It was nursery first and then playground and gymnasium, I should judge; for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls”. Research suggest “that the nursery room, with its barred windows and rings in the wall, was designed for the restraint of mental patients, but other critics assert that these were in fact common safety precautions used in Victorian nurseries and that such interpretations are extreme”. We can start to conclude from research the Character later starts to become a little insane due to the oppression her husband John was giving her.

Foreshadowing occurs later in the story as John tried to be a “helpful” husband and a great physiologist thinking he is giving his wife everything she needs. The character expresses that ”The color is repellant, almost revolting; a smoldering, unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight”. Articles express “When overused, yellow may have a disturbing effect; it is known that babies cry more in yellow rooms”. So why would the husband put his wife in a color were is prone to sicken her more instead of making her feel happy and get better. The color yellow is used as a sign of insanity of how a color that is so bright and so colorful can actually cause more pain to someone that has nothing to do but sit around and stare at the wall while the mind plays games on them.

Last but not least we see how the author uses irony throughout “The Yellow Wallpaper” we see how the character starts as a social person with friends and taken care of her child. Later we see that the character is getting more ill that what she started off as. As the main character reaches insanity we learn what her name ” I’ve got out at last, ” said I, “in spite of you and Jane””. Research indicated that “There is a dramatic shift here both in what is said and in who is speaking; not only has a new “impertinent” self-emerged, but this final voice is collective, representing the narrator, the woman behind the wallpaper (P. Treichler). ”

At the end of the story is when we realize that the woman in the yellow wallpaper was her and she had gotten out and was not willing to go back in. Now known as Jane refuses to go back to the person who once was and wishes to stay insane.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses different types of symbolism, foreshadowing and irony to get her point across on female oppression in the early 1900. Today her stories are viewed as how far females have come out of a cruel stereotype were the only thing they were good at was to bear children and take care of house duties. Woman today are independent they are able to have a job, make money, be the head of the house, vote and most important their voice has a value one that never in the 1900’s people thought could be possible. How important it is to realize how much the world has changed for woman and how mucho more there is for them to be considered equal as men 2000 plus years and counting one day we will all be equal.

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"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Use of Symbolism, Foreshadowing and Irony to Show Female Oppression Essay
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“The Yellow Wallpaper” By Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Use Of Symbolism, Foreshadowing And Irony To Show Female Oppression. (2020, April 02). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from
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