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Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Yellow Wallpaper Review


The Yellow Wall-PaperThe Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars




This is a small piece of literature that conveys a great deal .
in few words Charlotte Perkins Gilman had written a story that even so long after it was published is still a subject of further criticism and analysis . to put that much underlying meaning into a short story .

The story opens at the turn of the nineteenth century about an unnamed woman who suffers depression , most likely what is called postpartum depression . her husband John , a physician , decides on taking her in a vacation to a village house for three months as a part of a type of treatment that was used by then called "Resting Cure". The house is nice she declares , but she has a distaste for her bedroom's wall paper , yellow and repulsive as it is . Historically, The Resting Cure was a treatment prescribed specially to women who had a tendency towards hysteria or diagnosed with what is called Neurasthenia . this treatment essentially imprisoned women, isolating them from any Intellectual stimulation, such as reading, writing, drawing or excersing . they were forbidden from social contacts , our narrator is not even allowed to take care of her child . however , this once a brilliant woman who is into writing starts losing her mind , which any sane person would if placed in such an atmosphere . she tried to fight the whole thing by secretly keeping a journal but she soon gave up on it . " I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal — having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition." , anyway her mild distaste for the yellow wallpaper of her bedroom turns into obsession , she studies the patterns at first then sees them change day and night . When the wallpaper starts to reveal bars, it shows that she truly feels trapped and subdued. she'd start seeing women behind the bars shaking the pattern trying to free them selves which shows that she has become more mentally unstable. “Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over Also as the wallpaper becomes more intricate ". at first she wants them to stop she thinks of stopping them herself but eventually she would try to free them by stripping the walls of the paper . it shows that at first she denies that she is oppressed , she'd like to believe that its all for her own good , she wouldn't want her subconscious telling her otherwise , but it doesn't take her long to start identifying herself with the woman imprisoned in the wallpaper and try to free them .
The symbolism in the story is its powerful point , first there is The Yellow Wallpaper which represents her mind or her sanity , It contains patterns that all contradict one another , change with time and the disfranchised change that is unnoticed by the husband or any other just like the deterioration of her sanity that was totally underestimated .
The room its self which is big comfortable and well furnitured but with barred windows , not being her choice to begin with and to have asked to change it represents her situation . she is trapped into a golden cage and barely can complain .
The room to have been a nursery has to do with the manner in which the narrator is stripped of her autonomy by being treated and seen by her husband as if a baby who needs directing and continued instructions . So the nursery represents the society's treatment of women as juveniles. .

The whole atmosphere of the story is eerie , creepy lets say .The choice of the first person narration and The writing is genius , skilled . I am surprised to have noticed that the writing itself is correlative to the mental status of our narrator , first it starts with long well expressed sentences and as the narrator starts to lose her sanity it fragments and the longer sentences breakdown into shorter ones . I think I am proud of this one little remark which I have Googled and found too many people agreeing with the same observation .

The powerful end in which the narrator declares "I’ve got out at last, in spite of you and Jane." in which the husband finds his wife creeping around the room after having stripped it of the ugly wall paper .
but Then who is Jane ? It is likely that " Jane "is the name of our narrator, who has been restraining herself as much as being restrained by her husband and society and Now she is horribly free of her own efforts to repress her mind and the constraints put on her by others .


Overall , The story sheds the light on both mental illness and the role of a woman in a family in the turn of the nineteenth century . Regardless to the husband intentions which appeared to be totally benign he was causing her harm by the false treatment used by then and generally by considering her incapable of defining her own good .
All in all , this is one of the best short stories I ever read and i may recommend it to anyone who is interested in both subjects i mentioned above .


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