Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story that deals with many different issues that woman in the 19th century had to deal with on a daily basis. In general the mistreatment of women was so commonplace that most of the time it wasn’t even noticed.
The two main characters of the story, taking place during the 19th century, are the narrator and her husband, John. Life for the two is like most other marriages in this time period, except for the fact that the narrator is not like most other wives. Her hobby of writing is not a normal one for a woman of her time. Traditionally, in this era, the man was responsible for taking care of the woman both financially and emotionally, so there should be no reason for her to want to write.
The story begins with the husband and wife moving into a rented summer home right after having their first child. The wife has a funny feeling about it stating that there is "something queer about it", but John thinks that she is being too suspicious. She is sick and is suffering from depression, but John, being a physician that only deals with aliments of the body, thinks that she is fine and that she just needs rest. The room that they move into is what used to be a nur
in spite of you and Jane! And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!" The wallpaper was used by Gilman as a symbol of the constraints that were placed upon women in the 19th century. Her first description of it says that it is: "dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study" This is quite an intense description that says many things. Then the narrator takes notice of the wallpaper. This can be seen in the fact that her husband believes that she is recovering, when in actuality she is getting worse. I find it hovering in the dining room, sulking in the parlor, hiding in the hall, lying in wait for me on the stairs. This image was obviously meant to show that the women of the nineteenth century were trapped behind bars and were prisoners in there own lives. Soon John comes home and finds the door locked. Her senses are being constantly crowded with thoughts of the wallpaper and she is subconsciously trying to free herself from it. She figures that they are barred to keep the children safe. sery and this is where the story really begins. This is when John realizes that his wife has reached the point of hysteria and is insane. The first thing she notices in the room is that the windows a barred. She also begins to see a shape behind the lines in the wallpaper.