Inner Life Themes and Colors LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Yellow Wallpaper, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. Alongside its exploration of mental illness, The Yellow Wallpaper offers a critique of traditional gender roles as they were defined during the late nineteenth century, the time in which the story is set and was written. Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a prominent feminist, who rejected the trappings of traditional domestic life and published extensively about the role of women in society, and saw the gender roles of the time as horribly stifling.
When the story was first published, most readers took it as a scary tale about a woman in an extreme state of consciousness—a gripping, disturbing entertainment, but little more. After its rediscovery in the twentieth century, however, readings of the story have become more complex.
The story reveals that this gender division had the effect of keeping women in a childish state of ignorance and preventing their full development. The narrator is reduced to acting like a cross, petulant child, unable to stand up for herself without seeming unreasonable or disloyal.
The narrator has no say in even the smallest details of her life, and she retreats into her obsessive fantasy, the only place she can retain some control and exercise the power of her mind. The Importance of Self-Expression The mental constraints placed upon the narrator, even more so than the physical ones, are what ultimately drive her insane.
Writing is especially off limits, and John warns her several times that she must use her self-control to rein in her imagination, which he fears will run away with her.
For Gilman, a mind that is kept in a state of forced inactivity is doomed to self-destruction. Gilman implies that both forms of authority can be easily abused, even when the husband or doctor means to help.
All too often, the women who are the silent subjects of this authority are infantilized, or worse.“The Yellow Wallpaper,” a tale of one woman’s descent into madness, is Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s response to the male-run medical establishment and the patriarchal structure of .
Analysis of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," a feminist story of a woman descending into madness and freedom. The Yellow Wallpaper study guide contains a biography of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story "The Yellow Wall-paper" was written during a time of great change. In the early- to mid-nineteenth century, "domestic ideology" positioned American middle class women as the spiritual and moral leaders of their home.
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
Home / Literature / The Yellow Wallpaper / Analysis ; The Yellow Wallpaper / Charlotte Perkins Gilman sent a copy of "The Yellow Wallpaper" to the physician who had prescribed her a "rest cure." He subsequently altered the way he treated women for depression.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wallpaper." Catherine Golden, ed. The: Captive Imagination: A Casebook on "The Yellow Wallpaper", NY: Feminist Press, Annotation: Gilman's short story of a woman's descent into madness once her husband confines her to .