Throughout the story the yellow wallpaper gradually becomes a part of the

Throughout the story the yellow wallpaper gradually

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Throughout the story, the yellow wallpaper gradually becomes a part of the narrator, seizing control of all her senses. She begins to take notice in yellow objects, “[making] [her] think of all the yellow things [she] ever saw—not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things” (Gilman). She also begins to smell the paper. She admits, “It creeps all over the house…I find it hovering in the dining-room, skulking in the parlor, hiding in the hall, lying in wait for me on the stairs. It gets into my hair… a yellow smell,” (Gilman). Not only does she see and smell the wallpaper, it also becomes a part of her. The yellow wallpaper eventually physically attaches itself to the narrator because “ the paper stained everything it touched, that she had found yellow smooches on all [her] clothes and John's” (Gilman). The narrator willingly relates every object and sensation within her life to the yellow wallpaper. She identifies every little aspect in her own environment with the wallpaper. Her life becomes the wallpaper. Finally, the narrator finds out that the “woman gets out in the daytime! And I'll tell you why--privately--I've seen her! I can see her out of every one of my windows” (Gilman). Shortly after her discovery, she loses her mind. The narrator bites the paper asunder and cries, “I’ve got
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out at last… in spite of you and Jane, And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back,” (Gilman). However, while the figure finds freedom during the daytime and amongst the trees and through the windows, the narrator finds her own freedom through insanity. Her insanity allows her to act and think however she wishes. Due to her insanity, she frees herself from societal norms. She is no longer restricted to act, dress, or speak in ways that pleases society or her husband. Insanity frees her from her subordinate life. Ultimately, Charlotte Gilman’s only desire is for women, regardless of their era, their society, and their race, to refuse submission to oppression. By facing critics and opposing the intended roles of women, Gilman is willing to take a risk and give up her reputation in order to become a motivational icon for women. Despite the fact that women in the late 19 th century were discouraged from having a voice or act out of character, Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” refuses to conform to society’s expectations and illuminated the grotesque nature of patriarchal authority. St. Jean explains how the publishing of “The Yellow Wallpaper” not only motivates women with its words but also by setting an example and showing that it is possible for women to voice their concerns and opinions to the public. Davidson’s Gothic analysis also supports St. Jean’s claim. Davidson reasons that the supernatural fear the narrator holds for the unknown, confined figure within the wallpaper exemplifies the fear that the narrator similarly holds for her husband and his unapparent authoritative power over her. However, the theme of “The Yellow Wallpaper” still adheres to the theme of women fighting against a patriarchal society. Throughout the story, the narrator struggles and fights against her husband’s authority. The narrator still writes within her diary even though her husband discourages it. She also refuses to shift her attention from the peculiar yellow wallpaper despite the fear of being judged by her family.
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