Symbolism and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper".
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a famous author of the early 20th century. Living in this time period, she endured the consequences of female discrimination. She believed in the idea of men and women being equals in the work force. She dedicated her writing career towards this belief to show women that they can break through the glass ceiling and aspire to the working level of men. She proclaims her feministic views through her writings. In "The Yellow Wallpaper," Gilman effectively portrays her need for female rights and freedoms with the use of literary symbolism. .
At a time of inequality among males and females, Gilman had a firm feminist perspective. Feeling trapped inside a world of inferiority and depression, she uses symbolism to portray her confined emotions. The most apparent symbol in Gilman's story is the representation of the yellow wallpaper in the nursery where the protagonist, assuming it is herself, spends the majority of her time. The wallpaper symbolizes the object of Gilman's imprisonment. She quotes, "I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design," (598). This statement hints to us that Gilman is hallucinating and sees a human being living in the wallpaper. Gilman later states, "And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out," (600). The woman that Gilman sees trapped in the wallpaper symbolizes herself trapped inside a world of male domination.
Additionally, Gilman gives more examples that show she is literally and symbolically trapped inside the nursery with the yellow wallpaper. On page 597, she makes a reference to " the barred windows, and then that gate at the head of the stairs." These objects allude to her confinement.