The Yellow Wall-Paper The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a story about a woman and her psychological difficulties, in which her husband tries to help her. The story, although very captivating, is very confusing. It s easy to follow but hard to get a meaning or reasoning about what is going on. The only conclusion that makes sence in my opinion is that the main character goes crazy. This is a strange concept considering that the story is supposed to be somewhat semi-autobiographical. How does one sanely write about their own insanity First of all, Gilman s feminist views are apparent through the novel.
The whole time the character is being prescribed rest and being told not to do any activities, by her husband and other influential men in her life. She also mentions numerous times about the fact that if a man says something what is a woman to contradict. "Personally, I disagree with [her husband's and brother's] ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good. But what is one to do" (Gilman, 160). The woman in the story feels like she is being trapped like a prisoner.
Easily, if she wanted to, she could leave but again she feels she has no control over the men in her life. Her thoughts are made into visions when she sees the woman in the wallpaper. She talks about her grabbing the bars and shaking them so. This I believe is like her inner conscious trying to break free of this oppression.
Not just the oppression of not being able to do anything but the oppression of men in society. I think Gilman wrote this story with some points that don t necessarily have a deep meaning except to show the craziness of the character. There are also many points in the story that greatly catch my attention but I can not find any reasoning behind them. One of them is when she mentions the lady in the wallpaper creeps outside during the day. Al the places the character sees the woman is dark or shaded areas including in the country side as fast as a shadow of a cloud along the ground. I found this point strange as if it leapt out of the page at me, but I couldn t understand what point Gilman was trying to get across.
Another occasion that grabbed my attention was at the very end. The story starts to get completely weird, and the main character seems to be possessed by the woman in the wallpaper. Her being possessed seems to show that her inner conscious has broken free because of her tearing down the wallpaper. She mentions that the she has hidden a rope to tie up the woman from the wallpaper if she escapes but then two sentences later she says But I am securely fastened now by my well-hidden rope you don t get me out in the road there, (172). And she also mentions that she is from the paper herself. Lastly, when her husband finally gets in the room at the end of the story she says, I ve got out at last, in spite of you and Jane, (172).
At first I just read right over that like it was nothing but then it got to me, who is Jane The only conclusion I could come to is that Jane is the name of the main character and that she has truly gone mad. Before this part of the story this name was never used and the name of the main character wasn t either. She has gone so crazy she is believed to be possessed by the woman in the yellow wallpaper. I personally believe that these do not have a deeper meaning in them than to make the character seem utterly insane.
I have read before that Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote this story after she herself was diagnosed with the same ailment as the main character in the story. She was also prescribed the same medicine, not to do any physical work or writing, no deep thinking activities that might strain her body. She followed this advice for three months staying away from her writing and other works. Gilman felt by the end of those three months that she was going insane, almost as crazy as the character from the story. After her three months of personal hell she began writing again and feeling better. She wrote this story to show what she believed was happening to her and to show other people that the prescription she was given was not a working one.
She also wrote this for her doctor, who after reading it never spoke to her again. This story was very entertaining and I was wrapped up in it the whole time. Yes you can analyze this and try to come up with a deeper meaning to everything she wrote, but I feel that the story was more of an informative story for other women wrongly diagnosed and as an in your face type comment to her doctor. The feminist suggestions were just the type of comments she always used in her papers, because of her standings on the feminist issue.