Yellow Wallpaper Response Essay
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Gilman’s imagery in the essay “The Yellow wallpaper” changes in many perspectives throughout this short story. The narrator starts out rather calm in the essay. Gilman creates certain situations in this essay to help the reader get an open mind on woman segregation.
In the beginning of the essay the reader uses a situation where the reader has no say or voice in what is wrong with her mostly because she is a woman. “I should judge; for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls.” The narrator doesn’t realize it yet but this is her way of telling the reader that she didn’t have much choice on where she would be spending her time. Her husband is treating her like a child. Not to be taken serious what so ever.
“There was some legal trouble, I believe, something about the heirs and coheirs; anyhow, the place has been empty for years. That spoils my ghostliness, I am afraid, but I don’t care — there is something strange about the house I can feel it. I even said so to John one moonlight evening, but he said what I felt was a draught, and shut the window.” In this quote, this is a proving fact that in this story the narrator’s opinion is not taken seriously at all. The narrator’s husband, John, almost thinks of her as a “lower class”. Gilman is comparing this situation to the role of woman in her time period; that woman aren’t here to make assumptions or have opinions but are here to follow the certain “orders” of a man.
As the story goes on and the Gilman starts to give imagery examples on what the effects of how this narrator is being treated. Her main interest seems to be the yellow wallpaper and its patterns. “I assure you. I start, we’ll say, at the bottom, down in the corner over there where it has not been touched, and I determine for the thousandth time that I will follow that pointless pattern to some sort of a conclusion.”
The narrator has been in this room for so long that she is determined to find out how or what this pattern on the yellow wall paper makes. She is so confined and out of reach with society that she finds this amusing. There is nothing truly wrong with her but her husband believes there is and she has being hearing that for so long that she has started to accept and agree with her husband that there is a problem. Not matter what she says her husband will always blame it on her illness, giving her no right or matter of opinion what so ever.
As we get into the bottom half of the short story the narrator tends to go insane. “The front pattern does move — and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it! Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over.” The narrator does not realize it but the woman she is seeing in this wall paper is actually a reflection of herself.
The bars represent her husband. Not just because she gets little time outside that room but she doesn’t have as much rights or freedom of speech around her husband. Her husband controls her whole life. She has been caught up in the idea that her husband is always right and this is her minds way of telling her that she does not like the way she is being treated. “Then I peeled off all the paper I could reach standing on the floor. It sticks horribly and the pattern just enjoys it! All those strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growths just shriek with derision!
I am getting angry enough to do something desperate. To jump out of the window would be admirable exercise, but the bars are too strong even to try.” In this quote the narrators mind has gone into a hostile state. She sees this “pattern” in the wall and wants to do everything she can to let it out. This is her minds way of saying enough is enough. Without actually realizing it. She wants to be free from her husbands clutches, and this is her way of setting herself free.
The imagery in this story represents the certain situations on how woman were treated in the late 19th century. The outcomes in this story represent how woman were so trapped under the control of men that even the conscious mind agreed with their surroundings. Women were brought up basically to “obey” men in a way. Not having freedom of speech and not having the right to be an equal member of society in the late 19th century.