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

A Critical Analysis of 'The Yellow Wallpaper' by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Extracts from this document...


A Critical Analysis of 'The Yellow Wallpaper' by Charlotte Perkins Gilman 'The Yellow Wallpaper' written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a riveting story of a dejected woman locked away as if she were insane. Her passion is to write and by doing so we are able to follow her on a journey in which she is victimized by those closest to her. The significance of the story is tremendous as it delves into the underlying issues of 'a woman's place' and feminism in the 19th century. The story not only gave an insight into the public perception of mental illness but it later caused a famous psychiatrist, Silas Weir Mitchell to alter his treatment of neurasthema. As the story begins, the woman-whose name we never learn-tells of her depression and how it is dismissed by her husband and brother who are both medical practitioners. "You see, he does not believe I am sick! And what can one do?" We are able to see that the narrator has maintained the traditional patriarchal feelings, as many women and men did in 19th century, where women are discouraged from venturing out of their 'given sphere', due to the political makeup of the era. ...read more.


It is possible that in her mind, she sees a path which leads to the curing of her illness where happiness and good health awaits at the end. The reason the lane is "shaded" is because she is uncertain whether or not this path can be travelled. Upon moving into the mansion, she immediately becomes obsessed with the nursery room wallpaper with "sprawling, flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin" Initially she was dying to get out of the room however as the story unwinds she becomes completely infatuated by the wallpaper and doesn't 'want to leave...until I have found it out'. Her days and nights are so uneventful that she finds relief in writing a journal which becomes more obsessive as her sickness develops. She even goes as far as to mention the smell of the wallpaper, 'It is not bad - at first - and very gentle, but quite the subtlest, most enduring odour I ever met.' Her sickness is engulfing her personality and as the story moves forward we lose the woman we first met, and are introduced to an entirely different character. ...read more.


She believes that she has at last gained her freedom from the illness when in reality, the exact opposite has occurred. The incessant creeping is the final summation to her insanity. The colour yellow carried many negative connotations at the time this story was written. It was seen as a colour that was full of morbid self-analysis, and was symptomatic of the degeneration rife in society. This illustrates the protagonists warped head state as although yellow is associated with negativity, she craves it. This is portrayed when the protagonist claims that everything outside is 'green instead of yellow'. Her mind is so twisted that she feels everything outside of her 'sphere' is evil. The ending of the story is open to a variety of different interpretations. She feels victorious for escaping from her husbands grasp however in reality she is now trapped within herself. We feel that she may commit suicide due to her frustration, however the situation was reversed, and I was given the impression that she may have tried to murder her husband, in an attempt to free herself. However what ultimately happens we are never able to learn. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Alice Walker 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 AS and A Level Alice Walker essays

  1. The ending of The Yellow Wallpaper. Breakdown or Breakthrough

    In the allegorical view of the story (i.e. the breakthrough of the narrator), this could be conveyed as the idea of women not wanting to break free of the chains of the patriarchal society they are living in, instead 'hugging their chains' and conforming to the ordinary patterns of the

  2. Sympathy for the betrayers and the betrayed. Cresseid and Madame Bovary are dissimilar ...

    of quotation marks means the reader can never know when a character's thoughts have ended, and one gets the impression that the narrator imparts some of his own reflections into the character's thoughts. This free and indirect style not only creates a sympathy with regards to her fallaciousness, it is

  1. Wide Sargasso Sea-Explore how far you feel Antoinette is uncertain of her own identity

    Antoinette has nothing to offer to her mother, as she says, 'I was useless to her. She wanted to sit with Pierre'. The time that Annette spends with Pierre instead of Antoinette further confuses her into a deep uncertainty about her identity as she is unwanted by her mother, not only out of love but out of necessity.

  2. In the writing of Edgar Allan Poe, we see investigations into abnormal psychological states ...

    Evidently, both protagonists feel supremely confident that they will escape suspicion. Montresor insists upon it: "I must not only punish, but punish with impunity." He hints to Fortunato and the reader what he intends to do: he pours some "De Grave" for Fortunato.

  1. Analysis of characters in the yellow wallpaper

    and the narrator's double ('she') seem to fuse together ('we') and becoming one with her double allows the narrator to gain power and freedom. The narrator presents herself as 'I' on numerous occassions in the final section displaying her growing sense of self, power, and confidence at the point which

  2. Frailty, thy name is woman(TM)(TM) A.C Bradley has judged Gertrude to be a weak ...

    Therefore certain comparisons can be made between the Elizabethan royal family and Shakespeare's royal family of Denmark. In Act 1 scene 2 Gertrude makes her first appearance and is presented alongside her new husband Claudius. Claudius addresses the Danish court and states Gertrude is ''Th'imperial jointress to this warlike state''

  1. How the writer creates a sense of mystery in 'The Yellow Wallpaper'

    The writers? choice to use present tense is one of the ways she creates mystery this is because neither the reader nor narrator knows what is going to happen in the future only what has happened in the past and what is happening in present.

  2. Poe Analysis - The Cask of Amontillado: Historical Context

    If Poe's readers could not be expected to identify the nationality of each element, so much the better for creating the impression that the story happens "in another place and time.?? The time of the story may be guessed at.

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