Summary: Symbolism in the Short Story "The Yellow Wallpaper"

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In the short story “The Yellow WallPaper” by Charlotte Perkins, Gilman shows that the narrator is changing because of her mental illness, and the point of view impacts the story. Point of view means “the angle of considering things, which shows us the opinion or feelings of the individuals involved in a situation.” The story examines the narrator’s struggles and women’s rights, and the symbolism in the story along with first person point of view highlight these issues.

Struggle is defined as “ to make forceful or violent effort to get free of restraint or constriction.” The narrator is in an unstable condition, and she struggles greatly. Jane feels she is sick and tries to get the point across to her husband. She is concerned about her symptoms and wants to get checked out. Her husband, John “is a physician” and her “brother also a physician.” They are both “of high standing, and also says the same thing.” They both respond by stating “that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression”. They both say she is “absolutely for forbidden to ‘work’ until I am well again. She think it is wrong because she believes that “congenial work, with excitement and change”, would make her get better. When her husband “does not believe [she is] sick!she pretends that she is fine and there are no problems with her. Then she gets left alone a lot. She hides and acts out her insanity. She is constantly left alone in the room of the yellow wallpaper, which can makes Jane develop her craziness and imagination. When she sees a woman trapped inside the wall behind the bars, Jane wants the woman to get out of the wall. She tries to rip out the thing when it is actually her that she sees and that she is trapped in the relationship with John and everything around is not helpful that Jane wants to escape from where she is standing. The first point of view of the protagonist, narrator Jane explains that gives a result of that if John was the narrator we will miss all of these informations.

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Next, back in 18th and 19th century sexism, racism, and women’s rights were important issues. Gilman implies lots of women’s right. It means that “promote a position of legal and social equality of women with men”. Jane tells others that she feels sick, but because her husband and her brother who are both qualified think there is nothing wrong except rest they just think the mens are above the ladies. How John always leave Jane alone and he always leaves the house and her at home by herself which makes her get into crazy thoughts. The readers could feel what she felt towards how others did not listen to her made the readers think about the seriousness about women’s right. Back then all the men were like women’s should be home doing all the housewives jobs and not wander around because outdoor was their job. Jane was always left alone even though she was mentally ill. This impacts the first point of view of Jane narrating rather than the second point of view of John or Jenny narrating. If John was the narrator then the readers would have not got all the informations that are needed such as something that shows her emotions that connects with women’s right would not be clear as John is a male.Such as during the night when Jane “pulled and she shook, I shook and she pulled, and before morning we had peeled off yards of that paper” this presents the trapp she is getting from the relation which her husband and her life but if this was on the other point of view the readers would miss every single part for example the women’s right.

Finally, the symbolism in this story would be the wall, the imaginary girl, and her husband they all explain each aspect in the story that represents something. First of all, the wall also the yellow wallpaper shows the relation and how much the narrator wants to get out of it such as she starts to see things around such as there is something “behind that outside pattern the dim shapes get clearer every day” and “the outside pattern is a florid arabesque, reminding one of a fungus”. The narrator is seeing these things on the wall that her intensity is getting worse with her imaginations through her craziness of her mental health. Next symbol is the girl inside the wall Jane feels there is someone who is trapped “then she said that the paper stained everything everything it touched, that she wished we would be more careful” and that “she was studying that pattern, and I am determined that nobody shall find it out but myself!” These presents that Jane expose looking at herself but feels like it is not her as she thinks it is inside her.

The first point of view of Jane narrating this story expressed her mental illness through the story. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman express how the narrator struggles, women’s right, and the symbolism through the story of how it presents individually into the point of view as of first person with the emotions rather than second person.  

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