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Symbolism and The Yellow Wallpaper

             Symbolism and The Yellow Wallpaper For starters, I would like to begin by saying that this piece of literature, to me, was a disturbing piece of fiction that reminded me of the book (and film) "The Shining" by Stephen King. Both story's draw from the instability of the main characters mental state. This story in particular draws from the personal experiences of the author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It is the story of a woman's downward spiral ending in insanity. Everything is viewed through the eyes of the mental patient. She describes her day to day life, paying much attention to the yellow wallpaper. The wallpaper in it's decrepid state was a symbol representing the characters instable psychological being. The story opens with a description of the manor at which the narrator and her husband, John, along with their baby, and the baby's caretaker, John's sister Mary, are staying. The narrator describes the large piece of architecture as a "colonial mansion"(p.157) and being "quite alone"(p.157) some "three miles from the village(p.157)." Requiring further proof, the manor containing these characteristics is portrayed as an evil place that is cold, empty, and secluded. Continuing on with Gilman's work, there is mention of bars on the window, and the narrator even comments, "there is something strange about this house--I can feel it." Though the house is meant to be a place of rehabilitation for our guide, from the beginning there are overwhelming descriptions of an erieness to the house. The narrator describes to us, the reason she is under care in this large abode. It appears as if her husband, a doctor, has diagnosed his wife, with a mental order resembling depression. His treatment for her; rest and relaxation in quiet peace. For this, she is placed in a room upstairs with a bed bolted to the floor, and wallpaper which soon becomes the main topic of the story. What is further presented in great detail, is the wallpaper itself.

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