• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What symbols and themes are represented in The Yellow Wallpaper?

Extracts from this document...


What symbols and themes are represented in The Yellow Wallpaper? "It was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked..." In 1892, when Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story The Yellow Wallpaper was published it gained heavy criticism from society's more dominant sex - males. It was obvious the story had "hit a nerve" within male society as one Boston Physician wrote, "Such a story ought not to be written...it is enough to drive anyone mad to read it". It was because of comments like this the sheer volume and capacity of Gilman's writing was not appreciated or successful until mid-1900. Gilman's original intent for writing the story was to gain personal satisfaction from knowing that after reading the article a well-known "rest-cure" doctor, Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, might change his idea of healing: which he did. She is insistent throughout all her interviews that this acknowledgement of her writing by Dr. Mitchell is the ideal accomplishment that she could gain. The era, which Gilman wrote her story was dark; that is for women of great intellect and understanding. It was an era of the oppressive male and the submissive female, anyone daring to go against these "natural" roles was considered to be rebelling against God and nature. ...read more.


Once during the narrative John actually says to her "What is it little girl?" which was then followed by an order of not to go walking around the room. From the views and opinions of the protagonist we get impression that she is an intelligent women, like Gilman, and to be spoken constantly to in an undermining manner would make life unbearable. Submissiveness, as I have already mentioned was one of the virtues all women were expected to have, but it could be one of the most damaging because the submissiveness of many women lead eventually to insanity. In The Yellow Wallpaper it is identified on countless occasions. At the start of the narrative we see the woman disagreeing with her husband's and society's ideas of curing "nervous exhaustion" as she believes that mental stimulation would do her good but she tells us then that she cannot do anything about it as when she tries to talk to her husband he tells her to forget about her condition, she also tells us how John laughs at her, she then resigns herself to saying "one expects that in a marriage" this phrase also demonstrates the blatant sexism in society at the time. ...read more.


Also there is a role reversal at the end when John, her husband faints and suggests the idea that patriarchal society had lost a substantial amount of it's power and strength. The Yellow Wallpaper is considered to be one of the greatest works of feminism ever, and it is a pity that it wasn't fully appreciated until this century. It is a detailed account of what women had to go through to achieve their ultimate dream - of being taken seriously. I think the main reason it is so good is because it vastly autobiographical, and she tries to communicate the sacrifices that she made in order to gain independence and the impact these had on her emotionally and physically. For example like Jane in the story Gilman had her baby taken away from her when she went through the "rest-cure" treatment and afterwards when she decided to pursue her writing career she had to hand her baby over to her ex-husband which must have been wholly distressing for her. Although she never admitted it, The Yellow Wallpaper was a testimony to her own life and suffrage. Charlotte Perkins Gilman was undeniably ahead of her time as far as her thoughts, actions and expressions of emotions. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Charlotte Bronte section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Charlotte Bronte essays

  1. Original Writing - Curiosity killed the cat.

    I conducted cruel experiments using dogs, horses and cows to research the unique invention. It was all over the news. How unique and interesting the invention was. I certainly don't think that now. Especially as I don't deserve it, I've been framed, can't you see?

  2. Literary Theory Essay 2: Feminism

    It can be seen that such problems could have arisen from the so-called "marriage market", the virtual sale of a woman by her family in an arranged marriage. Elaine Showalter writes on the sale of women through marriage in her feminist deconstruction of Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge, which

  1. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's,

    He treats her like a child and just like a child she is kept in this room. Inside the room are "rings and things" that reminds her of a child's gymnasium. There is also a gate and at the top of the stairs and bars on the windows.

  2. Explain how a post-colonial analysis of any text on this module can illuminate the ...

    Bertha is uprooted from her homeland and 'conveyed' to England and as she does not conform to British culture she is lodged in a 'secret inner cabinet' at Thornfield, a 'wild beast's den - a goblin's cell'.

  1. With close attention to content, style and themes, examine the ways that Henry James ...

    The governess is the primary narrator and central character in The Turn of the Screw. She presents the characters and the incidents as seen through her own eyes. She has just left home when she interviews in London for the position of governess to two children in a country house in Essex.

  2. Consider the Influence of Gothic Fiction upon pre 20th century and 20th century texts

    This adds horror, the 'absolute silence' of the 'darkness overhead' and the 'shadows' and 'echoes' adds impact with the unknowing of what the room holds in the dark, like blindness, it is indefinite what lies beneath and this to the reader is fear-provoking.

  1. An Examination of The Representation of The 'Singleton' with Specific Reference to:' Sex and ...

    Yet the same review describes Bridget as "chain-smoking, wine-swilling, and man-hunting" which shows the negative connotation associated with being a singleton. This description reflects some aspects of the new social climate, for example binge drinking is a new phenomena, which is frequently publicised through the media as a health risk.

  2. Compare a pre 20th Century novel with a 20th Century novel.

    Grammar schools aimed to produce more intellectual young individuals. The grammar schools worked, but the secondary moderns simply produced self-perpetuating cycles of low ability students, who lacked ambition and had not been taught well. At eleven the students who failed their 11+ were told that they were stupid and good for nothing but manual work.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work