Essay on «The Yellow Wallpaper»

For our literature class our teacher ,Cecilia Lasa, asked us to think an essay statement based on the short story we’ve been reading, «The Yellow Wallpaper» by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Then, we had to write it pairs. I did mine with Bautista Olaizola. I hope you like it 🙂


Catalina Rela and Bautista Olaizola

Literature Essay

“The woman of the story “The Yellow Wallpaper”  metonymically represents the woman at those times (late nineteenth century)” How far do you agree with this statement? Explain.


  In the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the protagonist is shown as a victim. She isn’t only a victim because of her husband’s apathy of her illness. She is a victim of the repressing and desparating society in which she lived in. Throughout the entire story, the author makes a critic to the society, but indirectly, using metonymy.

 Firstly, metonymically means a figure of speech that consists of the use of the name of an object or concept for that of another to which it is related. Secondly, the woman in the late nineteenth century couldn’t express themselves or do things like writing, express themselves or going out of there houses alone. The protagonist of this story couldn’t write because of her illness that was a nervous depression, this was what his husband, John, told her. Her husband didn’t allow the narrator to write because he thinks it is worst for her, “he hates to have me write a word” the protagonist can’t write in front of her husband. Also, at that time science was very important so the narrator thinks that her husband is always right, “What is one to do?” , this is when she is talking about what her husband tells her and that she doesn’t agree with it but she feels he is right because of his profession.

   Also, the woman at that time didn’t have the same rights as men. A further evidence of this is when the woman doesn’t like her room and says “But John would not hear of it”, she feels her husband won’t consider her opinion. Then, her husband is not the only one that doesn’t let her write, John’s sister in law doesn’t let her write too, she is hired as a housekeeper. Then, John doesn’t take seriously what her wife says about the wallpaper, “He laughs at me so about this wallpaper”, he doesn’t care what the narrator says. Reaching the end of the story, these topic of what women were allowed to do is challenged. When the protagonist can finally express herself without repression, is when she is free “here I can creep smoothly on the floor”, in this quotation the use of the word “I” represents a lot, she can finally make her own decisions by herself. When she can finally be free, it’s seen as a mad woman “I had to creep over him every time”, here the use of the I is also important but most importantly, what her state represents. She is like in trance, “moaning” and “creeping on the floor” like crazy people. The fact that this woman could finally express herself, talk by herself and make her own decisions, was as crazy as her state.

 In conclusion, the narrator of the story “The Yellow Wallpaper” metonymically represents woman at those times because she can’t express herself and also can’t do what she wants to. Also, she doesn’t have the same rights as John or any men, like it was expected at those times, so when she can finally have the same rights, she’s shown as a crazy woman.

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