Books and Movies Reviews

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper: Story of a Woman Confined in a Room With Ugly Yellow Wallpaper, Who Gradually Goes Insane: Examples of Opposites

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story "The Yellow Wallpaper" tells the story of a woman, confined in a room with ugly yellow wallpaper, who gradually goes insane. The story is written infirst person, which makes it sound as if the writer is the speaker, but writing it this way makes the experience of the woman's growing difficulties more intense. The author sets the reader up to feel that the speaker is the writer from the second sentence in the story, and uses this technique to build tension based on conflicting perceptions throughout the story.
From the very beginning, the reader feels that he or she is experiencing what the narrator experiences. The narrator's difficulties are revealed subtly atfirst. In the second sentence, the speaker says that she thinks the house is haunted, although she finds the idea charming at that time. She has several reasons for believing this, one being that the house is part of a hereditary estate but that the rent for the summer was quite low. She also notices that it has been empty for a long time. She likes the house and yet believes it to be haunted, providing conflict about her opinion of the building. She loves all the windows in her room but hates the wallpaper.
Then the narrator begins to reveal that she has an opponent in her life – her husband, who, acting out of love, is keeping her captive. She has no say in anything, and it is he who picks the room with the yellow wallpaper although she much preferred another room. Her husband, a physician, does not allow her to leave this room much, and she hides her writing from him because he does not want her to write. She loves her husband, but he keeps her captive in a room she hates and does not allow her to do the writing she so loves. The tension between husband and wife is a lot like the speaker's larger struggle with sanity and insanity.
Gradually she describes how the wallpaper comes to dominate her thin…


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