What Role Does the Wallpaper Woman Play in the Story?

The Yellow Wallpaper is a story by feminist writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The plot reveals the suffering of a young woman. She has to obey her husband and receive the “rest cure” for “nervous exhaustion.” The woman is staying inactive in a poorly furnished room with yellow wallpaper. Loneliness and idleness exhaust the heroine. As a result, she rips off the ugly wallpaper to free the woman hidden behind them.

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The wallpaper woman appears in the middle of the story. At first, the heroine considers ugly patterns that remind her of poisonous mushrooms or plants. She is forbidden to write or draw. As a result, her mental energy pushes the way out. The heroine keeps a diary where she describes her room’s walls in detail. Over time, she begins to see a woman’s outlines, which appear behind the original pattern.

The heroine decides that she must free this woman to get rid of captivity and the obsessive vision. She furiously rips off the old wallpaper and sees many women coming out of the wall. They hide, and the heroine again sees them on the street, outside the window. They creep without having the strength to straighten up. At this moment, her husband enters the room, who is so shocked by what is happening that he faints. The heroine is surprised by his mental weakness. She notes that he fell just at the wall along which her path lies, and she has to crawl over him.

In this form, the author expressed the heroine’s symbolic liberation, protest, and final elevation over her husband. At the same time, the woman behind the wallpaper reflects the heroine. Her independence and creativity are shackled in the ugly frames. Therefore, releasing the woman behind the wallpaper, the heroine symbolically frees herself. Also, the image of creeping women enhances the emotional content of the author’s message and depicts the breadth of the problem.

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