what does the nursery symbolize in the yellow wallpaper

Page numbers from this copy of “The Yellow Wallpaper”.

Its first mention is early in the story where she writes: “There is a beautiful shaded lane that runs down there from the house. The bed is mentioned frequently throughout the story: it is heavy and old, but most curiously, it is nailed to the floor. -Graham S. The timeline below shows where the symbol The Wallpaper appears in, ...on the window to prevent children from falling. Mitchell represents both the rest cure itself, and serves as shorthand for more aggressive treatment. The outside pattern I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be” (653). John and Jane are purposefully generic names, and were likely used for the same reason. However, it’s precisely this ‘normal’ life that the narrator does not fit in with, but since there’s no other ‘choice’ she is left with suicide or madness as alternatives. Consider the following as your formulate your answer. She is referred to as “Jane” at the end of the story; Jennie was a common nickname for women names Jane. is used twenty times in the story, but doesn’t start until the end of the fourth section. The reader eventually feels that ‘time is running out’ for the narrator, and while the text should be counting down to the end of her ‘treatment’ it is instead counting down to the loss of her sanity. The Woman in the Wallpaper – The woman in the wallpaper is, of course, a symbol for the narrator herself. I tried to lift and push it until I was lame, and then I got so angry I bit off a little piece at one corner – but it hurt my teeth” (655). Time – Time plays an important role in the text, emphasized by the use of the number three to indicates its passing. Pioneered by Silas Weir Mitchell – who is called out by name in Gilman’s story – it involved keeping the woman’s mind unstimulated by forbidding reading and writing (aka thinking), and prescribing bed rest that generally included no exercise or socializing. Why or why not. The Nursery – That the narrator is forced to stay in a nursery is no coincidence, as the room at the top of the house with the eponymous yellow wallpaper could have been any room. The narrator’s brother, who is also a doctor, is mentioned twice, and is declared by the narrator to be in agreement with John (648). With no choice left, the narrator goes insane rather than submit to John’s control. They also represent that even the narrator’s mind is trapped, and that there is no escape. Source(s) 'The Yellow Wallpaper' Charlotte Perkins Gilman Its significance shifts as the story progresses… read analysis of The Wallpaper Like renting a mansion, the brief mention of Mary likely exists to establish the social standing of the narrator and her husband. Suicide, both hinted at and openly contemplated, is even prevented by the room itself. The Rest Cure – The major theme or goal of the story by Gilman was to show the dangers of the rest cure; it’s never mentioned by name, but alluded to constantly. She’s still, in this way, shown as powerless. Can we believe everything that she says? Start studying The yellow wallpaper. Read more about this blog (and me) on the About page. The Baby: The nameless baby boy in the story, he is referenced at several points to develop the other characters and establish that the narrator most likely has postpartum depression. “Creepy,” in the sense of unsettling, is only used briefly to describe how the narrator feels looking at the moonlight on the wallpaper (652). Learn how your comment data is processed. It sticks horribly and the pattern just enjoys it! Yellow photo by me Added to this was a diet heavy in often raw meat, and high fat foods such as butter and milk; this was due to Mitchell’s belief that women’s depression was caused by a lack of “blood and fat,” which the rest cure was meant to remedy. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. ( Log Out /  The Lane – A shaded lane can be seen from the narrator’s window, and is mentioned three times in the story. This is evidence of what is disclosed in the opening paragraphs, that John “assuses friends and family there there is nothing really the matter with one” and so the narrator is left with no one in which to confide (648).

The narrator writes of the children often, at one point stating: “I never saw such ravages as the children have made here. Since the first mention of “creeping” is also the first time that the woman in the wallpaper is mentioned, the word “creep/ing” is clearly linked to her. I don’t want to. The only thing I can think of that it is like is the COLOR of the paper! I won't, even if Jennie asks me to. The namelessness and generic names convey the message that this story could happen to anyone.

I must not let her find me writing,” which shows that the narrator seems to ‘like’ Jennie, but that Jennie is also on John’s side, willing to enforce his orders (650).

The symbolism of the nursery in "The Yellow Wallpaper " has to do with the manner in which the narrator is treated and seen by her husband (and others). The Wallpaper “The Yellow Wallpaper” is driven by the narrator’s sense that the wallpaper is a text she must interpret, that it symbolizes something that affects her directly.

It’s importance can’t be overstated, since it is the story’s namesake it deserves close examination. This is right before the narrator tries to talk to John about her feelings, only to be dismissed. I don’t like it a bit. The reader will notice that the thought it incomplete, what she “wonders” and “begins to think” is not fully formed or shared. Instant downloads of all 1372 LitChart PDFs eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. At the very end of the story the narrator writes: “This bed will not move! Repetition – While certain words, phrases, and numbers are repeated in the text, repetition in general becomes its own part of the story. Postpartum depression is the cause of or a contributing factor to the narrator’s condition. The repetition contributes to the tone of the story by furthering the feelings of helplessness on the part of the narrator. Jennie (Jane): The sister of John who is brought in to help take care of the narrator. I could write a tremendous amount more about this short story, but this post is almost untenably long as it is. The room, in a way, represents the narrator herself; when looking at the room this way, the destruction that the children have wrought becomes more sinister. Other times it’s variations of the same sentence, such as “And what can one do?” appearing, and then the next sentence ending with “what is one to do?” (647-8). All those strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growths just shriek with derision! Earlier, the narrator writes: “But in the places where it isn’t faded and where the sun is just so – I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design” (650). The narrator tells the audience that her husband is a doctor, and therefore, he knows what must be wrong with... Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Sometimes it is in the form of synonyms such as “ancestral halls,” “colonial mansion,” and “hereditary estate” packed together in the first two sentences of the text (647). I’ve blogged all sorts of things through the years, and the site reflects it! It's importance lies in its symbolism, it represents the society of the time, the narrators desire for creative expression and her obsession with the paper symbolises madness.

Marriage and children was the path for women’s lives at the time, and many feel that it’s the path for women’s lives now. I hope you found this information helpful. The wall-paper, as I said before, is torn off in spots, and it sticketh closer than a brother – they must have had perseverance as well as hatred” (650). It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you. Another intentionally generic name, like John. The Friend: The unnamed friend is mentioned directly after Mitchell as someone who was subjected to his treatment: “I had a friend who was in his hands once, and she says he is just like John and my brother, only more so!” (650). They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. Top subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History. Our. She writes the story as a diary or series of letters over the period of her confinement. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!" Please feel free to ask any questions, post corrections, all that good stuff, in the comments.

The nursery functions of multiple levels; on one level it serves to establish that the narrator is infantilized by John, something his own dialogue supports. The narrator mentions having “mother and the children and Nellie down for a week,” and presumably they are related to the narrator. Threes – Furthering the theme of repetition (above) is the occurrence of things in threes. There are miscellaneous family members peppered throughout the story as well. At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candle light, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! “The Yellow Wallpaper” has such a tremendous amount of symbolism in it, that when you look at it closely you realize that nothing is left to chance, that is a very deliberate text. Educators go through a rigorous application process, and every answer they submit is reviewed by our in-house editorial team.

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