Books and Movies Reviews

Summary and Critique of short story The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkin Gilman

The central focus of this intriguing story is the development of an individual consciousness towards an apparent form of insanity and eventually into a state of total psychosis.The story begins as we encounter the thoughts and feelings of the main character; a woman who is seemingly ill and possibly suffering from postpartum depression. Her husband rents a large rambling country house and insists that she do nothing but rest. She is obviously suffering from a form of depression but her husband does not take this seriously and does not investigate or seemed cornered with the root causes of her condition.
She is treated in a condescending but kindly way by the husband.However, the important aspect of their relationship is that the husband sees her not as an individual in her own right but more as a child who is incapable of looking after herself. It becomes clear as the story develops that the women or narrator of the story is stripped of her sense of self.She seems to have no ability to fulfill her role as a women and mother and her child is kept from her.
However, the central aspect of the story is the way that the woman sees images and animations in the wallpaper of the room in which she is confined.The wallpaper is a central metaphor of her entrapment and a literary device that expands on the development of her insanity.Eventually the images in the wallpaper are transformed in the narrator's mind into images of trapped women in the wall or prison within the wallpaper.
The central character gradually drifts into a state which can only be described in psychological terms as a psychotic break with conventional reality.She becomes the trapped and "creeping" woman in the yellow wallpaper.At the end of the story she loses her sense of reality completely in a climax which suggests the conventions of a horror story.
However, while the story can be interpreted as a horror story on one level, on anot…


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