In The Yellow Wall- Paper the narrator uses the wall paper as the main symbol to critically describe the position of women within the institution of marriage during 19th century. This work ensured that during the creation of this literature, women remained second class citizens wherein the society keeps them in a confined world of domesticity and motherhood assuming that women are unable to stand up for themselves. This confinement restricts them to develop their full potentials.
The main character in this story is an emotional servant who is a victim of confinement most specifically mental constraints. As the narrator loses involvement with the outer world because of her assumed mental health problem, she comes to a greater understanding of the inner reality of her life as a woman. She is highly imaginative but her husband forbids her to exercise her imagination as part of the curing process. The Yellow Wallpaper is a story about the wickedness of confinement.
In this story, Charlotte Perkins Gilman wishes to symbolize this confinement to the current situation of women who are locked up in their role as merely wives and mothers. They are exclusive to domestic purposes only without any right to identify themselves as an individual person. The story wishes to open people’s mind in the dangers of restricting women not only literally but also in the sociological and mental aspect. It aims to convey that this confinement can risk a person’s mental and physical health as portrayed by the psychosis brought about in the narrator’s mind as she struggles inside the room.
In the story, the narrator’s husband locked her inside the room with the yellow wallpaper because he believed that she would be cured of her post-partum depression due to recently giving birth. He thought he could cure her by means of rest cure treatment. In a thorough analysis, the husband symbolizes the patriarchal ascendancy that restricts women’s lives. They are expected to always follow and obey their husbands and fathers as they are believed to know the best for everyone. The husband’s act of confining her represents male dominance in the society.
The woman behind the wallpaper is the narrator herself. Being confined alone in the room only provides herself as the only company that she has. The wallpaper becomes the mirror of the narrator’s situation as she sees her situation and the situation of other women struggling free from the “cage” which has already formed in the patterns of the wallpaper. . The narrator perceives her room with wall paper as ornamented with the heads of many women, all of whom were strangled as they tried to escape in their confinement.
The wall paper represents the structure of family, the position of women and medicine. The narrator’s negative feelings and growing frustration towards her restricted situation color her description towards her surroundings, giving them more meaning until she becomes fixated with the wall paper. As time passes by the wall paper becomes more uncanny and sinister bringing her into the realization that the wall paper demonstrates her situation. Moreover, her journal illustrates the significance of self expression.
Her journal becomes an important way for her to express her imaginative power and eventually became an emotional and intellectual outlet. However she became obsess to it and to the wall paper that made her insane which may eventually leads to self destruction. The writer of this short story uses imagery and psychoanalysis to express her political idealism about the inequality of marriage where women are always regarded as less capable than men that restricts them of self expression. She also stresses that the resting cure that means inactivity can deteriorate one’s mind.
2. Is the narrator of Edgar Allen Poe`s `The Tell Tale Heart` Truly insane or feeling insanely guilty? Does this in any way effect the credibility of the narrator`s story? An unnamed man opens the story by claiming that he is not mad or insane the way everybody perceives him. He will narrate a story on how he skillfully and cleverly murdered an old man in order to defend his sanity. His reasons of the murder were neither passion nor desire for money, but rather a tremendous fear and obsession of the man’s grotesque blue eye.
The narrator continually insists in the initial part of the story that his actions of crime are not those of a madman since he plotted measured and clever actions to kill a man by which only sane and intelligent people can perfectly execute. For a week, the narrator went to the old man’s room and secretly observed the old man sleeping every night. In the morning, he approached the old man as if everything is perfectly normal. Until one night, the narrator decides that the time is right to kill old man.
All throughout the story, the abnormal extreme nervousness of the narrator justifies his insanity. His paranoia created by his imagination towards the old man’s eye contributed to his nervousness every time, though many times he approached the old man with ease and naturalness. The narrator before the murder often fixates himself with the idea that old man’s blue eyes is looking at him with evilness and wickedness that may probably transmit a curse on him. The old man’s blue eyes are approached by the narrator as a different entity separate from the old man’s self.
The narrator failed to recognize that the old man’s eyes are part of his human identity and thus can not be separated as long as it exists. Thus the reasons of the murder then went out to the usual inspirations of the murder cases but rather the reasons of the murder in this story reached the narrator’s psychological attribution; that is his obsession in the old man’s vulture eyes eventually corrupted his sanity and moral judgment. The narrator is neither greedy for the old man’s wealth, nor vengeful because of any slight” but his paranoia and obsession towards the old man’s eyes greatly contributed to the murder.
Meanwhile, when the narrator constantly observed the old man every night, the excess detail of the old man just like his heartbeat contributed to the psychological factors of the narrator that eventually resulted to murderous profile. 3. In Kate chopin`s `The Story of an Hour,` after learning of the supposed death of her husband, Mrs. Mallard closes the door to her room so that her sister Josephine cannot get in, yet she leaves the window open. Why does Chopin make a point of telling the reader this? How might this relate to the idea of being `free` and to the implicit idea that she is somehow imprisoned?
Do other worst in the story relate to this idea? “When the doctor’s came they said she had died of heart disease— of the joy that kills” suggests that Mrs. Mallard’s husband died, her freedom begins. Truly, this short story has a feministic approach that boldly explore women’s situation during the time when this written masterpiece has been created. Initially people around her especially her sister Josephine has been so careful on to disclose the news of her husband’s death due to railroad accident.
Her heart trouble made the people disclose the news carefully and gently, as they fear that such bad news may tremendously affect her health that may eventually caused her sudden death. When she finally heard the story disclosed as gentle as possible, “she wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment in her sister’s arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her”. Though the doors are close but the windows are open. This suggests various meanings in the short story.
When she let the windows open where she can see the delicious promises of nature and where she can openly hear different sounds created by outside, it suggest she is finally enjoying herself with the outside world. The windows symbolize her desire to exercise her freedom and her free will. The clouds, the sky and the environment with the new spring life brings hope to her heart. Perhaps when her husband was still alive, her identity and sense of individuality were restricted to the confinement of home and to the fulfillment of her duty as a wife. An evidence is that the real name of Mrs.
Mallard which is Louise is only revealed later in the story. It suggests that Louise lacks identity and sense individuality even and especially until her marriage but until her husbands reported death, it liberated her. But now that her husband is gone, she can freely see the wide horizon with hope that she can now finally explore herself outside her usual comfort zone. The involvement of the words “springtime and patches of Blue Sky” symbolizes that a new and exciting life is awaiting Mrs. Mallard. This short story hints that Mrs. Mallard husband is a typical husband of his day who dominated his wife.