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We are never entirely free, that is until we are dead or at least dead to this world. Although, I feel we can never really be free, there are some things that can act as a temporary escape. The wallpaper is symbolic of the state of mind of the narrator. The room where the narrator has to spend her time is symbolic of the conditions that eventually make her lose her mind, and the most dominant feature in the room is the yellow wallpaper with its "torturing" [1] pattern.

The woman is eventually forced into a prison within her own mind. The wallpaper represents this prison. Continue reading this essay Continue reading. Toggle navigation MegaEssays. Saved Essays.

1. Introduction

Topics in Paper. Example Essays. Analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper.


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In other words, if he doesn't want to accept something, he declares that it is irrational. When the narrator tries to have a "reasonable talk" with him about her situation, she is so distraught that she is reduced to tears. But instead of interpreting her tears as evidence of her suffering, he takes them as evidence that she is irrational and can't be trusted to make decisions for herself.

He speaks to her as if she is a whimsical child, imagining her own illness. The only way the narrator could appear rational to John would be to become satisfied with her situation; therefore, there is no way for her to express concerns or ask for changes.

Essay Example: The Yellow Wallpaper: Analyzing the Narrator

John can't imagine anything outside his own judgment. So when he determines that the narrator's life is satisfactory, he imagines that the fault lies with her perception of her life. It never occurs to him that her situation might really need improvement. The narrator is horrified by it. She studies the incomprehensible pattern in the wallpaper, determined to make sense of it.

"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman / A HorrorBabble Production

But rather than making sense of it, she begins to discern a second pattern—that of a woman creeping furtively around behind the first pattern, which acts a prison for her. The first pattern of the wallpaper can be seen as the societal expectations that hold women like the narrator captive.

The narrator's recovery will be measured by how cheerfully she resumes her domestic duties as wife and mother, and her desire to do anything else—like write—is seen to interfere with that recovery. Though the narrator studies and studies the pattern in the wallpaper, it never makes any sense to her. Similarly, no matter how hard she tries to recover, the terms of her recovery—embracing her domestic role—never make any sense to her, either.

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The creeping woman can represent both victimizations by the societal norms and resistance to them. This creeping woman also gives a clue about why the first pattern is so troubling and ugly.

It seems to be peppered with distorted heads with bulging eyes—the heads of other creeping women who were strangled by the pattern when they tried to escape it. That is, women who couldn't survive when they tried to resist cultural norms. Gilman writes that "nobody could climb through that pattern—it strangles so.


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  • Eventually, the narrator becomes a "creeping woman. The narrator writes, "[T]here are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast.

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    That her shoulder "just fits" into the groove on the wall is sometimes interpreted to mean that she has been the one ripping the paper and creeping around the room all along. But it could also be interpreted as an assertion that her situation is no different from that of many other women. In this interpretation, "The Yellow Wallpaper" becomes not just a story about one woman's madness, but a maddening system.

    At one point, the narrator observes the creeping women from her window and asks, "I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did?