The central meaning of the story "The Yellow Wall" by Charlotte Perkins Gillman is showing the position of females in the society as depicted by how men in the society overshadow them. Oppression seems to be the theme of the story as the protagonist narrates the persecution and sufferings that she goes through in the community simply because she is a woman. Women faced a lot of oppression especially in the nineteenth century whereby they were controlled and oppressed by their husbands and other males who had influences over their lives such as in workplaces, churches, and general societal gatherings.
In the story "The Yellow Wall" by Gillman, the protagonist, who is a woman, is oppressed and is used in the story to show the place of womenfolk in the community and how they undergo oppression on the hands of men. The meaning of the story is shown and perfected through the use of numerous symbols and objects on the scene such as windows, doors, the house itself and the wall paper which are seen to facilitate the oppression of the protagonist as well as her assertiveness to the world. In normal circumstances, the house could be seen as the woman's escape whereby she retires after getting tired of oppression, and she can express herself through it by working in numerous places around the house. However in this story, the house represents oppression to the grieving woman because she claims it is not hers, and she is persecuted for being in it. The oppressed woman states that "she is haunted for being in the house" and also saying that "there is something queer about it." These statements show the woman's desire to go far away from the house. From her comments, the woman is seen to mean that she would rather go away to a place unknown than keep staying in the house. This shows the level of "queerness" that the woman associates the house with.
The way that the woman acknowledges the beauty of the house before stating that it is strange to live their shows how women in the society see the good side of menfolk and then they are blindfolded by it. By selecting not to be misled by the beauty side of the house, the woman shows other women in the society that they should not continue living with abusive husbands simply because they were focusing on the bright side alone. The woman shows that other women should wake up and assert their rights as equal members of the society.
The house is also used as a symbol to facilitate her release as she uses it to write and express her thoughts. She shows that even though she is captivity, she can take advantage of the captivity to progress her ideas and her life as well. The meaning of this symbol is that women in the society could use the condition they are in to demonstration the realm that they can survive and do better than men or than there situation before. Women should not view their homes as captivity places but rather as places where they can advance their agenda and ideas as well.
The story also uses the symbol of the window in the house which normally is used in literature and writings to show opportunities or hope in the future. However, in this story, the window is used symbolically to show the view or things that the protagonist does not want to see. The window enables her to see how the world is enjoying life and how bad her situation is being a captive in the house. She states that "I don't like to look out of the windows even- there are so many of those clinging women, and they creep so fast." The woman knows that to live; she has to creep like other women who do not creep during the day but only do so during the night. This symbolizes how women who are oppressed in the society show brave and happy faces during the day, yet they cry themselves to sleep at night. The window is used to represent how women who are oppressed in the society try to see the issues affecting them, but they pretend not to see because it reminds them of their captivity. The protagonist also states that she does not want to out into the world because she will be forced to pretend like everything is okay and also because she does not know what the outside holds for her. The window also represents oppressed women in the society who despite seeing their oppressive situations decides not to live since they do not distinguish what the imminent has for them.
In conclusion, the woman in the story also uses the yellow wallpaper which plays double roles in her life. The wallpaper can trap her in the house with its complexity of configuration that hints her to no satisfying end while also setting her free. The woman states that the wallpaper is the worst thing that she has ever seen since her husband has forced her to sit all day in the house and watch the paper hence she tries to follow the patterns of the paper to wherever they lead her.
BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 Hedges, Elaine. "Thee Yellow Wall-Paper." The Yellow paper (1998): 20-56.
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