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How does the writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman create a sense of unease and madness in her short story The Yellow Wallpaper?

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Introduction

How does the writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman create a sense of unease and madness in her short story "The Yellow Wallpaper"? The theme of "The Yellow Wallpaper" is madness. The story is about the narrators decent into madness which finally leads to her death. Her husband and brother are both physicians who think they know what is best for her but it is the way that they treat her which makes her finally go insane and commit suicide. They forbid her from doing anything and put her in a room at the top of a house and she is not allowed to leave the room. "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a semi-autobiographical short story as the writer, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, suffered from depression and almost a complete breakdown. She too committed suicide just like the narrator in her short story. Charlotte Perkins Gilman is writing from personal experience. One way that the writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman creates a sense of unease in the story is that the story is all written in the first person but the narrator has to write in secret as she has been forbidden from writing or doing anything 'absolutely forbidden to work'. This shows unease because the narrator has to do everything in secret no one must know that she is writing this or she will not be allowed to continue. ...read more.

Middle

As the narrator spends more time in the room with the wallpaper we see that she becomes even more deranged. 'I've seen her!'. The narrator now believes that there is a woman who lives behind the pattern. She starts to believe that she is the woman in the wallpaper who is trapped. This shows that the reason for her insanity is the way she has been treated by her husband who thinks that the rest cure is the best thing for her. The rest cure has sent the narrator insane. She is trapped in a room at the top of a house with a gate at the top of the stairs and now she believes that she is trapped behind this wallpaper. The way that the narrator describes the wallpaper shows that she is going mental. She describes the pattern on the wallpaper by saying 'they suddenly commit suicide'. Instead of saying that they stop she says they commit suicide. The narrator commits suicide at the end of the story so this is an early indication that just like the pattern on the wallpaper she will commit suicide. We can tell from this that she is going insane because it is her insanity that causes her to commit suicide. She also says 'that awful pattern began to laugh at me'. This shows her insanity and obsession with the wallpaper because she now believes it is laughing at her. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows how the wallpaper has tormented her and sent her insane. The tone and mood of the story change at the end of the short story. At beginning the mood was depressed and the narrator is helpless she just has to do as she is told 'what is one to do?' she just agrees and does as she is told. However the mood is happy as the narrator is no longer helpless and told what to do she is free to do what she wants. 'I've got out at last' 'you can't put me back'. She is free from them she has left the world where she is locked away at the top of the house with 'barred windows' 'a gate at the top of the stairs' and isolated from her baby her friends and family. She is now free from this to be happy and do what she wants. In spit of being told she is not able to write she has finished her story. However her triumph is that john will find her hanging dead. Gilman conveys the narrator's sense of excitement and release when she writes things such as 'I've got out at last'. She has been trying to break free for ages and now she has finally managed it no more isolation and depression. It shows her excitement and release because she has finally escaped and is now at peace. ?? ?? ?? ?? Hannah Evans 11DF Page 1 ...read more.

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