Symbolism In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

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Back in the 1800s, women were considered second class citizens and didn’t have that much liberty or democratic rights. Women were not encouraged to obtain real education or pursue a professional career. Even if they were married, they didn’t have the right to own their own property and they were controlled by their husbands. This lifestyle is similar to what the narrator lives with described in Charlotte P. Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper. In Gilman’s short story, the narrator is locked up in a room covered in yellow wallpaper because her husband believes she is mentally sick. However, the yellow wallpaper itself is one of the largest symbols in the story as it represents a mental cage and sickness found in the main character. The wallpaper…show more content…
The color yellow is often associated with sickness and weakness. In this case, there is no coincidence that the author chose this particular color for the room. Since the narrator is mentally sick and powerless (weak), the color yellow fits well with her condition; and throughout the story, this wallpaper makes the narrator sicker. She even complains about it and states, “I never saw a worse paper in my life”. She even explains that the color is hideous enough and the pattern is torturing. Again, this is like that mental screen enforced on women by men in which they are controlled and have no liberty. According to the Empower Yourself with Color Psychology website, yellow is a great communicator and loves to talk, it’s the color of the networker and the journalist, all working and communicating on a mental level. Just like in the story, wallpaper is like a symbol or text the narrator must interpret as it affects her directly. The site also states, “Yellow is related to the ego and our sense of self-worth, to how we feel about ourselves and how we are perceived by others.” This is seen in the story as it is explained that men are superior to women, and women in general are
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