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Short Story: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Essay Sample)


Short Story: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Choose one of the following essay questions:
• What is the meaning behind the wallpaper? How do these explanations change an understanding of the narrative? What role does the wallpaper play in the story?
• What is the role of women/feminism in the story? Do you feel the story would be told the same way from a man's perspective?
In addition to the essay question you choose, analyze how the theme, either the wallpaper or women, plays an important role in the story. Why did the author make it a point to explore that theme?


The Yellow Wallpaper
The yellow wallpaper
Charlotte Gillman's short story ‘The Yellow Wallpaper' is an influential story narrated from a feminist perspective; the story examines the role of women during her time. The narrator takes the role of a repressed woman to express her thoughts and her marriage experience to depict a repressive and unjust environment, which becomes the source of her mental illness. Gilman story represents women's struggle for independence, using her life experiences, she illustrates a typical female society during the Victorian age.
The Yellow Wallpaper revolves around a woman who lives under the control of her husband (Gilman, 2006). The woman is restricted to her room because of her illness. In reality, she is suffering from depression. After being restricted to her room, she becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper in the room (Gilman, 2006). Her obsession with the wallpaper not only reveals her oppressive environment, but the wallpaper also reveals the haunting feelings inside her mind. Thus the wallpaper becomes the motif in the story.
The woman's oppressive life is portrayed using the image of the yellow wallpaper, which becomes an important element to enhance the story. The narrator describes her surroundings, especially the room where she spends her time. This room is covered with yellow wallpapers and bars on the windows, which seem to be like a prison (Gilman, 2006). Having stayed in her room for a long time, the only thing she can do is to speculate the whole day about the wallpaper. She becomes obsessed with the hideous wallpaper in her bedroom (Gilman, 2006).
The wallpaper enhances the theme of oppression, making it a significant symbol in the story. The motif of the wallpaper brings the story to life. The narrator describes the wallpaper each time giving more details drawing the readers to understand the surroundings of the narrative (Gilman, 2006). The story uses imagery to make the reader understand the circumstances under which the main character lives. As time goes by, the woman starts seeing another woman on the wallpaper

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