Clare Luce once said, “Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, ‘She doesn’t have what it takes.’ They will say, ‘Women don’t have what it takes,’” (Luce). Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the author of The Yellow Wallpaper, wrote the story in first person since she was suffering from depression and nervous breakdowns that affected her for many years. Gilman visited and was treated by Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, who is the doctor in the story. Just like in the story Dr. Mitchell told Gilman that the ‘rest cure’ which included no physical or intellectual stimulation would help cure Gilman. He told Gilman to ‘live as a domestic life as possible.’ Writing from experience adds to the meaning and emotional aspects of the story. Gilman was taking Jane and putting her through her own personal experiences. Using the aspects of Feminist Criticism, “The Yellow Wallpaper” can be analyzed by using character, symbols, and setting.
First off, character is important because that is how you get to know the character. “You can see he does not believe me” (Gilman).This goes with the feminist criticism and the character because John has the character of an oppressive male. By having this character he will not listen to the narrator because she is a women and he is a man which means he is in charge and everything has to go his way. “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage.” (Gilman).This can go with two types of characters conformist female and the typical male. It can go with the conformist female because she is conforming to what John wants and she is setting herself up to expect things to happen. Also this can be the typical male because John does not take Jane seriously and thinks oh she is just a woman she doesn’t know what she is talking about.
Second, this paragraph talks about the symbolism. “But in 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 sulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design.” (Gilman). This shows that Jane is being trapped by John and that she doesn’t have a say in her own life. It’s like she is not a person but more like she was treated as an object. “It slaps you in the face…” (Gilman). This quote is talking about the wall paper but this is a symbol of how she is being repeatedly slapped in the face when John changes the way that he talks to Jane.
Lastly, the setting plays a major part in feminist criticism. “…after that wall-paper was changed it would be the heavy bedstead and the barred windows, and then that gate at the head of the stairs and so on.” (Gilman). This can show how Jane was being suppressed by John. Another thing would be that this is showing that Jane was really trying to escape but she never could because she thought she loved him. “The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow turning sunlight.” (Gilman). This goes with feminist criticism because it shows how the light shined on Jane and each day the light got stronger and stronger. This also relates to Jane getting stronger and stronger and becoming her own person.
To conclude, using the aspects of Feminist Criticism, “The Yellow Wallpaper” can be analyzed by using character, symbols, and setting. Someone can learn from this essay about feminist criticism about the different types of characters like having the conformist female, typical male, and the strong female. They each play a different role in relationships with people. This is important because it shows how women break the barriers and standards.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman 1860-1935. 14 Dec. 1998. Web. <Charlotte Perkins Gilman 1860-1935>.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. Print. 1829