Symbolism In The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Touch of Madness: a Look into “The Yellow Wallpaper” It was once widely believed that the greatest writers and artists of the time got their creativity from being touched by madness. However, Gilman in her short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” presents a twist on this theory by suggesting that madness, or at least the madness of the narrator, is due to confinement and inability to express herself. Throughout the story, she is constantly confined, censored and oppressed by her husband. It is this relationship that leads the narrator to her beautifully disturbing decent into insanity. Gilman uses this relationship with John, the development of the narrator through the lavish symbolism of the wallpaper, and the enhanced the theme of the destructive…show more content…
This is reflected in the wallpaper for she views it as, “sprawling,” only “pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke” and created of “unheard of contradictions” (227). This would be normal for one who never before contemplated that she herself has an individual soul and voice. For it is against her ingrained nature of obedience and so it should be something to be feared. Once she embarks on this journey, however, the wallpaper changes; it is no longer a confusing design or many faces, but a woman, “the front pattern does move--and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it” (235). She then starts to break free and accepts her newfound power of creativity. She exclaims, “And I know John would think it absurd. But I must say what I feel and think in some way--it is such a relief” (231). She continues to grow in her independent thinking until she breaks the bars of society’s limitations and frees the woman behind the wallpaper. This is seen when she exclaimed to her husband that “I’ve got out at last… And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back (237). She has finally transitions to her ideal form she has created from and in spite of
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