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 encompassing wallpaper. “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). 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. 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’ with delirium tremens- go waddling up and down in isolated columns” (599). However this is certainly not the end of her disturbing manifestations and

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The Yellow Wallpaper. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:54, January 19, 2017, from