The Yellow Wallpaper (Literature)
The Yellow Wallpaper
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman
In The Yellow Wallpaper, readers can see a woman lose her sanity and gradually insane. However, behind the process of sanity, the entire story hides a more important message. Should we truth the authority entirely? Throughout the story, the wife was forced under the rest cure, which wouldn’t allow her to anything but rest. Yet, at the beginning, readers can see that the narrator tried to rebellion and write, which is strictly forbidden by her husband. And till the end of the story, readers can see that doing nothing didn’t solve her problem, instead, it intensified her illness and caused her illustration of the creepy wallpaper. “If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do?” Readers can see that the narrator tried to speak out about her own illness, but she was ignored by her husband and the authority, even her own brother. To me, the narrator seemed to be suffered from the phobia similar to the children. When children were asleep at night, they sometime cried to the parents such as “there is a monster under my bed” or “I heard something calling my name.” Those reactions are often considered as a fear of the darkness or something unknown, yet when most people grew up; they conquered the fear and moved on with their lives by doing something else to occupy their mind. But from the story, readers can see that since the narrator is under a rest cure, she could do nothing, not even writing down her perspectives as a way to release her uneasiness. So, gradually, the fear inside her or the uneasiness in her caused her unrealistic imagination and eventually made her mad. And when reader back turned back to the beginning, did the rest cure, which assigned by the authority really work? However, could the narrator do anything but obey the treatment?
What’s more, the yellow wallpaper also gave readers some connection toward the narrator’s insanity. “The color is repellant, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.” Gilman herself learned design, so she must be well-known that how a color could affect one person. In some horror movie or movies that portrayed psychiatric hospital, the setting were often designed with the color of faded yellow, old and dirt, the same as the room which the narrator lived. When the narrator was moved into the room, she had already been a bit crazy and had nothing to do but imagine. So the author used the revolting color to stimulate her, and led to a more severe illness. In most of our imagination, yellow brings people happy and considered as a bright color. However, in this story, yellow became one of the reasons why she was mad. And if we connect with the authority issue discuss in this story, could it means that authority was meant to bring people something to believe, to rely on, yet till the end, when the public follow the authority blindly, even the brightest color could become dark and repellant.