And There Is A Friend That Sticks Closer Than A Brother What Is The Meaning Of This Passage In The Yellow Wallpaper?

Updated 8 November, 2023
In this passage, the narrator describes the wallpaper using an allusion to the biblical Proverbs 18:24, “There are friends who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” The friend, or woman in Gilman's story caged in the wallpaper was herself, and she needed to free herself in her mind because she was her only true friend and savior.
Detailed answer:

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman relies on symbolism a lot. Allusions imply the theme of female imprisonment and feminist liberation. A significant portion of the book is dedicated to the description of the wallpaper. It plays a vital role as the portrayal of the main character’s struggle with identity and freedom. One of the descriptions includes a Bible verse “…and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother” from Proverbs 18:24. This is used to allude to the character’s need for self-reflection. The wallpaper acts as a symbol of the protagonist’s confinement.
The allusion does not only mean that the paper is glued onto a wall. It has a hidden meaning. The Bible implies that each person needs God as a savior. He is, unlike any brother, closer to the person’s soul. But Gilman does not incorporate religion by the usage of the passage. The savior that the author describes is the protagonist, while “brother” is her abusive family. The quote foreshadows the character’s need for self-reflection to liberate herself from the husband. The author alludes to the fact that no one except women themselves should recognize and address their unfair treatment.

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