The Woman Trapped in the Walls

“The Yellow Wallpaper” was truly a short horror film on paper! Charlotte Perkins Gilman brings us into the scene immediately in the first few lines as “a colonial mansion” is brought into the picture. We see a little foreshadowing when the narrator, who is a wife and a mother, says “I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity — but that would be asking too much of fate!” (Gilman 1). The text is written as entries in the narrators personal journal, as we see her several times cease writing when someone was approaching the nursery in which she stayed. The narrator mentions many times that she suffers from “nervous depression”, and her husband John  is a physician who deems that the cure for her sickness is rest and fresh air up in the nursery. This nursery is described as “a big, airy room… with windows that look all ways and air and sunshine galore” (Gilman 2). The only thing that seemed to bother the narrator was the sickly yellow wallpaper as far as the eye can see, “… almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.” (Gilman 2).

Throughout the story, we see the different time that the narrator exists in as her husband seems to control her actions and determine her best interests. With the bed nailed to the floor and bars over each window in this nursery, its almost as if she was imprisoned in this room that was only worsening her condition and causing her to lose more and more of what piece of mind she had left. She starts to see a woman’s figure behind the repulsive wallpaper, and we as readers follow her on the path deeper into her insanity page by page. “.. It is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. I don’t like it a bit. I wonder — I begin to think — I wish John would take me away from here!” (Gilman 5). The narrator finally reaches her limit when she decides to free the woman behind the wallpaper, thus freeing herself from her little prison and bringing her farther away from sanity. The room she once wanted to be free from was now the place she felt most safe. “I don’t want to go outside… For outside you have to creep on the ground, and everything is green instead of yellow” (Gilman 9).

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