The Yellow Wallpaper: Analysis Essay
“The Yellow Wallpaper” is are markable short story by the early twentieth century American feminist novelist Charlotte Gilman. Containing some elements of stream of consciousness, the short story draws out the pathetic and doleful condition of the female stratum of society at the hands of male dominance, and hence laments the miseries and problems faced by them particularly during the last years of nineteenth century. The novelette elucidates the presence of social inequality and injustices everywhere in the then American culture, where the women would have to make long struggle in order to win their privileges and rights equivalent to the males. In addition, the story also contains the elements of psychoanalytical perspective articulated by the renowned Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud in its theme and scope, which submits to state that irrational drives, existing in the sub-consciousness, determine human behavior by creating awareness necessary for meeting the psychological resistance in the form of defense mechanisms; the same could be seen in the behavior observed by the protagonist i.e. the narrator.
The Freudian perspective submits to state that the human mind serves as a complex organism that not only regulates the entire activities of the body, but also preserves unfulfilled wishes and desires in its sub-consciousness that are reflected in dreams. In addition, the sub-conscious also alerts the humans on the eve of any perturbed or uneven state of affairs; consequently, man acts, reacts and behaves in the light of the dangers, apprehension and fears appearing before him (Westen, 23). It is also the case with the protagonist-come-narrator of the short story under consideration.
The story revolves around the narrator, a young, newly-married wife and mother of one that experiences psycho-neurotic disturbances. As a result, her husband confines her in a room that is situated in the upper-storey of the house and is meant for the summer rent. She describes her doleful condition by expressing her grief regarding her inability to take phosphates or phosphates, tonics, journeys, air, and exercise; and is absolutely forbidden to “work” (Gilman, 1). Thus, she laments her incarceration and looks desirous to escape at any cost. Hence, her haplessness urges her to make struggle against the encaging inflicted upon her within the physical strength and resources. Thus, the Freudian perspective appears here that the fears and perils force the humans to make attempts regarding the problems they face.
There is yellow wallpaper covering the wall of the room the woman has been confined to, and it always captures her attention and concentration in one way or another.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper, The New English Magazine. 1892. Print.
Westen, Drew. Psychoanalytic Approaches to Personality. University of Michigan, 1991. Web. http://www.psychsystems.net/Publications/1990/3.%20psychoanalytic%20approaches%20to%20personality_Westen_handbook%20of%20personality%201990.pdf