The Yellow Wallpaper
To be free is to be insane, and to be sane is to be trapped. What happens to a woman who is allowed no real mental stimulation, forbidden to express herself creatively, and barred from the very things that provide satisfaction? The line between freedom and entrapment is a faint one predominantly when they are hidden by the sexual politics of male versus female, husband versus wife relationships in a sociocultural atmosphere. One might suggest that men perpetuate a sort of ideological prison in which women are victimized into silence. The idea that women were expected to accept their place as prisoners to society is one that Charlotte Perkins Gilman was unwilling to accept. In her autobiographical story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman illustrates through her skillful use of tone, setting, and characterization that there must be an entire societal change before we can forge ahead and move beyond the confinement of ideology.
Gilman starts out almost immediately showing her autobiographical self’s digression to insanity through the style and tone of her writing. The language shifts into a style which can be taken as both disturbed and metaphorical as she describes the complex patters of the all encompas
In other words, the nut does not fall far from the tree. She can see out the bared windows to a world of impending potential but knows that change is a gradual and process which may only for now allow her to "creep. So what does a woman who is allowed no real mental stimulation, forbidden to express herself creatively, and barred from the very things that provide satisfaction do She realizes that there must be a change in the world and sociocultural arena where men and woman have been on the opposite sides of the ring. However this is certainly not the end of her disturbing manifestations and Gilman"tms parallels to the theme of isolation and entrapment. Yet amongst the nightmarish story of escaping limitations there a glimpse of hope. The child, the impressionable blank slate can be saturated with the ink that sets a standard, which is no longer unattainable, and says to be free is to be sane, and to be insane is to be trapped. As the story continues and the downward spiral accelerates into greater obsession and psychosis, descriptive words become more fantastic: "bloated curves and flourishes- a kind of "debased Romanesque"tm with delirium tremens- go waddling up and down in isolated columns" (599). Gilman"tms brilliant use of characterization in this short story also provides insight to the innovative purpose and scheme of the story. If the child grows up living in the isolation of the yellow wallpapered room that"tms what her baby would grow accepting this as the norm. "When you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide-plunge off at outrageous angles, destroying themselves in unheard-of contradictions" (596). It is as if she can see a kind of writing on the wall, in a language only she can understand. This yellow wallpapered room provides a dramatic feel for her status in society. What she is trying to do, of course, is to find a pattern and a meaning that will lead her to some kind of conclusion about her own life and understanding.