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The Yellow Wallpaper Essay

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Essay Question: How does the author effectively use language to explore the narrator's state of mind in this passage?

This passage is at the end (last page) of the text "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. "The Yellow Wallpaper" is about a woman who suffers from "a nervous condition" which results in a negative state of mind and a sometimes insane mental state which is portrayed in the passage as well as throughout the text. The author uses language in the passage and the text as a whole to help portray the narrator's state of mind. The narrator uses negative diction, repetition and irony to explore the narrator's state of mind in the passage. These also help to depict the main themes of the story.

Firstly, the author uses negative diction to explore the narrator's state of mind. Throughout the passage (and text) the author uses many examples of negative diction to portray the narrator's struggle with her "nervous condition". The author describes how the narrator gets "angry enough to do something desperate". This quote portrays the narrator's negative frame of mind as she is prepared to do something reckless due to the fact that she is becoming so infuriated. The narrator is said to have intentioned to "jump out of the window". This portrays the narrator's insanity as she intended to commit suicide to end it all. This could also show that the narrator is looking to escape from the imprisonment she has suffered. This helps depicts the main theme of the story: the subordination of women in marriage. The narrator is said to be unable to perform this "admirable exercise" however as the "bars are too strong to even try". This shows how the narrator is entrapped within the nursery which helps to depict domesticity as imprisonment.

Secondly, the author uses repetition to explore the narrator's state of mind. The author continually repeats the word "creeps" throughout the passage to describe the narrator's movements. This shows the reader that the narrator is trying to hide from something/someone as creeping is usually done slowly and quietly. This portrays the narrator's paranoid frame of mind as she believes she has to avoid everyone as she believes everyone is against her. This is shown earlier in the text as well when the narrator says how she had seen John and Jennie "looking at the paper!" This "creeping" is also symbolic of the rise of feminism as the woman in the wallpaper crept around at night, avoiding detection which would have been similar to the beginnings of feminism which wasn't done visibly. The word "I" is also repeated throughout the passage. This repetition helps to portray the narrator's self-centeredness as she always talks about herself. This self-centeredness



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