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Plot Analysis the Yellow Wall Paper

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Madness or Rebellion

In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" the narrator is struggling with mental illness and eventually descends in to a state of madness; but strangely seems to be quite liberated in doing so. This literary analysis will give clear and concise evidence that the narrator is liberated as well as crazy at the end of this fictional story. The following paragraphs will analyze what, why, and how she went crazy and free at the same time.

"The Yellow Wallpaper" is written as a journal of events or better stated as a first person- narrative fictional story. It is written exclusively from the perspective of the unnamed protagonist. She is reluctant in the beginning of the story to reveal that she is writing or even doing anything but resting. It is challenging for the narrator to conform to the control of her husband; "so I take pains to control myself before him, at least, and that makes me tired" (Gillman 355). Charlotte Perkins Gilman states "and I am absolutely forbidden to "work" until I am well again. Personally I disagree with their ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good" (335). She continues to clue the reader in on the type of life she is forced to live by being married "I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus - but john says..." (Gilman355). Her condition changes over the next few weeks while she follows the orders of her husband / doctor. She becomes consumed with the wallpaper in her room and this will become her only concern in her downward spiral into madness.

As time that passes while she is locked away in isolation and required to sleep all the time allowing too much time on her hands to think of how horrible her situation is. She begins to take notice of the fact that she is in a room that has nailed furniture, barred windows and that this room was once used for children. She actually describes the room as an "atrocious nursery" (Gillman 356). These symbols allow the reader to understand what she is sick of and why she is sick of it. She is well rested after the first two weeks at the house and begins to secretly write in her journal again. This time only making statements about the room that she is locked in. The narrator writes with cynicism when alluding to her illness stating "John is away all day, and even some nights when his cases are serious. I am glad my case is not serious!" (Gilman 356). She also is sure to include statements made to her by her husband to ensure that the reader is aware of how he treats her; "What is it, little Girl" (Gilman 360). Her awareness the fact that she has obsessed over the wall paper and Gilman states "Of course I never mention it to them any more - I am too wise, - but I keep watch of it all the same" (360).



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