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Hayley Hinson English 113-109 Johnson 13 March 2012 TITLE GOES HERE Imagine you are in a room

. Imagine it to be a very dull room. No television, computer, or books. Just a bed, a few drawers, and the most peculiar wallpaper. Now imagine being locked in that room for nearly three months, only coming out a few times a week for food. The narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper experienced a situation similar to this. After a few weeks, she started to go crazy, and her mind began to play tricks on her. The narrator began to see something in the wallpaper. First, the paper started to move on its own. Then, the narrator began to see the shape of a woman behind the paper. She noticed that the woman behind the paper was causing the shaking, and the woman was shaking the paper because she was trapped. The woman behind the wallpaper was trapped and shaking the paper, trying to make an effort to get free. The woman trapped inside of the wallpaper symbolized how the narrator was trapped in society, trapped in her marriage, and trapped in her mind. In the 1800s, all that was expected of a woman was for her to get married and have children. If she was lower class, then she would also have to do house work. If upper class, she would have a maid or nanny to do the house work, which was also a woman. Basically, it was the woman’s job to do every little thing her husband told her to. Whether she liked it or thought it was right, if a man said it she was expected to follow his command. Women were treated as objects, not as actual people. No matter how much a woman disliked something a man did, her opinion did not matter, because she was an object, and an object cannot think. Also, objects are

something to be owned, so in a way, women were owned by the man they married, similar to the way a slave belonged to its master. As a result, some women felt trapped, such as the narrator, and they were not allowed to make the decision to leave because they were not capable of decision making because of emotions. Women were not allowed to make many decisions for themselves, as shown in the Yellow Wallpaper. In the story, John made all of the decisions for the narrator. He told her when to eat, when to sleep, even when she could see her child. She was not allowed to see people unless John had deemed it safe, and she was not allowed to write because John had said that it was too tiring for her (insert citation). Even though John was hardly at home because of his work, she still had to follow every command he gave her. It also seemed like she hardly knew the real John, so she was blindly following every command of a man she barely knew. John treated the narrator like a child calling her names like “a blessed little goose, (insert citation)” and by planning out her day and forbidding her perform certain tasks, much like the parent of a toddler did. Everything she did was supervised, and no matter how hard she tried, she could not escape John’s grasp. John had trapped the narrator in their marriage, and he was not planning on letting loose anytime soon. Society was also very harsh towards women. Men ruled all of society, so women had no choice and were also trapped outside of their marriage. Women were seen as having too many emotions, and according to men of that time, emotions made a person unstable. Because women were such unstable creatures, they had no say in what went on in the world. Women were not allowed to vote, possibly because the men thought they would not be capable of deciding something important such as the president. Women were not allowed to hold jobs of power, and they were not allowed to manage finances or make major purchases because the men thought that the emotions of the woman would get in the way of her reasoning and cause her to make

mistakes that could end up ruining a business or send a family into debt. Emotions made a person incapable of reasoning, and could drive them mad on occasion. Postpartum depression was not seen as a disease in the 1800s, it was just a result of too many emotions. Because of this, most women did not receive proper care or treatment. Most were prescribed the rest cure. The rest cure, developed by S. Weir Mitchell, was prescribed for all emotional disorders that were not understood and had no other cure (Martin par. 2). The women who underwent this cure were instructed to lay in bed for weeks at a time, were not allowed visitors, and were not allowed to do any kind of activity that might stimulate the brain. As a result, some of the women, including the narrator, would go mad. Most people have been lonely at one point in their life. Whether they are alone for a few minutes, or alone for a few weeks, most people know what it feels like to be away from other humans. Having no contact for a prolonged period of time can lead to something called lonely madness. Lonely madness is a condition that appears when a person is isolated from society or from human contact, such as a prisoner in solitary confinement or the narrator in the Yellow Wallpaper, and can lead to "depression, despair, anxiety, rage, claustrophobia, hallucinations, problems with impulse control, and/or an impaired ability to think, concentrate, or remember," (Fritner par. 5). The narrator of the yellow wallpaper was trapped all alone in a room, far away from any human contact. She had no way to express herself, since she was not allowed to write, and she had no one to comfort her or to discuss heavy subjects with. She was left to herself most of the time, and essentially trapped in her mind, just like the woman was trapped in the wallpaper. She began to entertain herself with made up women who often creeped around the rented property and she would try to make sense of the wallpaper’s patterns. She was always nervous and worried about the woman, and she would get mad if anyone tried to tell her she was

wrong about the woman. The narrator was trapped just like a prisoner. She was a prisoner of her own mind. Symbols play a big part in any story. Whether the symbols are obvious or whether they’re subtle, symbols are present in almost every story. Symbols add to the meaning of a story, and tend to describe a problem deeper than any words can. In the Yellow Wallpaper, if the narrator had said that she was trapped outright, the reader would probably not be as drawn in compared to if the narrator had used a symbol, such as a woman trapped in the wallpaper. The woman and the wallpaper were one in the same. The woman in the wallpaper was the narrator.

Bibliography Frintner, Carly. "Lonely Madness: The Effects of Solitary Confinement and Social Isolation on Mental and Emotional Health | Serendip's Exchange." Serendip Home | Serendip's Exchange. N.p., 17 Jan. 2008. Web. 4 Mar. 2012. Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. Boston, MA: Small & Maynard, 1899. Print. Martin, Diana. "PsychiatryOnline | American Journal of Psychiatry | The Rest Cure Revisited." PsychiatryOnline | The American Journal of Psychiatry | Home. N.p., 1 May 2007. Web. 4 Mar. 2012.