The Yellow Wallpaper
A Madwoman’s Perspective: Examining Point of View in “The Yellow Wallpaper” College
In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman presents readers with the theme of a woman restrained by her more powerful husband. When a woman being treated for hysteria by her domineering spouse is forced to stay in a room with maddening yellow wallpaper, she is eventually driven insane, imagining a woman is trapped inside the pattern. She herself is trapped in a world where women are not taken seriously and are dismissed as hysterical. Gilman’s choice of a first person point of view - more specifically one of a woman writing in a diary - helps to emphasize the frightening situation of the woman in the story. The unique point of view allows readers to see not only the internal feelings of a woman essentially imprisoned, but also the implications of writing such a diary and the moments when the woman is holding back (or being held back).
It must be admitted that there is a problem with having a first person narrator in a work of fiction. A certain degree of reliability is lost when readers only hear one side of the story, especially when it’s impossible to tell if that one side of the story is even true. Gilman certainly sets up the narrator of “The Yellow Wall-Paper” to be less than perfectly truthful. Soon after the...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 1440 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10370 literature essays, 2631 sample college application essays, 518 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in