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The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Summary and Review) - Minute Book Report

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Published on Jan 20, 2013

This is a summary and analysis of "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This channel discusses and reviews books, novels, and short stories through drawing...poorly.

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This is a story about a wife and a husband who rent a mansion off in the country. The husband is a doctor, while the wife is suffering from severe mental illness. The country air will do her some good.

The husband tells the wife that all she needs is rest and that she will recover. She is kept in the attic of the mansion in a large room with yellow wallpaper. There are windows facing every direction, but all the windows are barred.

While the husband works in the town, the wife grows crazier and crazier, looking in the wallpaper for eyes and movement. She thinks that she sees women behind the pattern of the wallpaper.

On their last day at the house, the wife locks the door and refuses to leave. When the husband opens the door, the wife reveals that she doesn't want to go back behind the wallpaper, claiming that she is now one of the women behind the pattern. The husband faints and she symbolically steps over his body to freedom.

This story is about the progression into craziness, but also freedom. The husband represents science and authority, which often dismiss notions of liberation and imagination. In fact, the husband often talks to the wife as if she is a little girl.

As the story progresses, the wife and images she sees behind the wallpaper begin to merge together. She claims she sees figures moving around on the wallpaper, but that could have just been her shadow from the moonlight. Either way, it paves the way for her to eventually become a woman behind the yellow wallpaper.

In terms of the use of yellow in this story, it works because of the range that the color can come to represent. Yellow is a lively color that we often use to symbolize life and energy. However, it can also be used, especially if faded, to represent criticism, harshness, and cowardice.

As this story is from the late 1800s, it reveals a lot of what women at the time were going through. Women had not yet been given the right to vote, let alone make enough money to support themselves. Many of them felt trapped, as if behind wallpaper.

Music by WingoWinston from newgrounds.com.

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