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The Yellow Wallpaper essay

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The Yellow Wallpaper "The Yellow Wallpaper is just a horror story about one woman's descent into madness" I agree to a small extent to this statement. On the surface, the Yellow wallpaper could be seen simply as a gothic horror story, as Gilman creates senses of eeriness by evolving the narrator from having a slight nervous depression to sheer insanity. However, by taking a deeper look at The Yellow Wallpaper's concept, the story seems to be centred on the oppression of women in society back in the olden days. The narrator's lunacy is not simply rooted in the nervous depression her husband constantly reminds her of, nor is the madness driven by the ghastly yellow wallpaper. Her insanity is instead, created by her husband's ideology that women were to be looked down upon. Gilman has developed this simple diary of a mad woman into a story about the oppression of women in society, using dialogues, and objects as well as other elements in the Yellow Wallpaper as symbols to convey this concept to the audience. '...those absurd, unblinking eyes are everywhere....the eyes go up and down the line, one higher than the other.' ...read more.


The pattern and its distraught figures are a symbolic reference to the women in that period of time, who were desperate to break out of the female standards society has determined for them. Another example, which may seem like a quotation from a gothic horror story, implies the same concept behind it: 'It slaps you in the face knocks you down, and tramples upon you.' The words 'slap', 'knock', and 'trample' are vital to the concept of the story, as the description here is not just of a pattern, but rather a hint about the real conviction of Gilman - the oppression of women. The verbs used here to describe the wallpaper's pattern effectively symbolise the suppression of women, as they may feel knocked, or trampled on by men, which implies that men show little respect for them, thus alluding to the theme of oppression more than horror again. Furthermore, the absence of the narrator's name is great significance and is intentional. The hints are provided for the readers in the dialogues that Gilman has specifically written to show how women were unreasonably a less dominant sex. Throughout the story, the narrator is being addressed as 'darling,' 'dear', 'little goose', and other silly names by her husband. ...read more.


(The ideology of men having full power over woman) This line is completely unnecessary for a horror story of a woman going mad, but is proof that men have always repressed women back in the narrator's days. Another significant example that has finished off the story: "Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall so I had to creep over him every time.' This final sentence indicates that the narrator has not gone completely insane, as she mocks her husband for fainting - something that a stereotypically 19th century female would have done. This ending is ironic, as the narrator who is a woman did not faint as expected, but rather her soothing, masculine figure of a husband. In conclusion, although The Yellow Wallpaper could be seen as a horror story in many ways for its isolated setting, horrid wallpaper, and its disturbing hallucinations and madness from the narrator in which Gilman uses to create a sense of spine-chilling atmosphere, her story contains a much deeper concept than just a simple horror story. Gilman uses elements in her story as symbols, such as the setting, dialogues, words etc in order to convey the reader about the oppression on women in her period of time, which is an effective technique as the symbols create much memorable imagery. Monica Liaw ...read more.

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