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The Yellow Wallpaper Analysis

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Essay title: The Yellow Wallpaper Analysis

Meghan Hatsell

Dr. Pilkington

English 220-110

1 April 2008

Analysis of “The Yellow Wallpaper”

The text book term for “analysis [is] the examination of a piece of literature as a means of understanding its subject or structure. An effective analysis often clarifies a work by focusing on a single element such as tone, irony, symbolism, imagery, or rhythm in a way that enhances the reader’s understanding of the whole” (Wolosky and Voloshin G1). However, this analysis is going to cover my opinions of the stories tone, and imagery. “The Yellow Wallpaper” shows an enormous array of both if these elements. This story also shows how one is able to drive themselves to a state of mental instability with out recognizing what they are going through. Although, this story has all great elements of literature there are two that are more distinguished. Thus, being stated before those elements are tone, and imagery.

The first thing that is going to be discussed is the tone of the story. When one first reads the story they might think that the husband, John, is the one with the problem. The story takes place through his wife’s journal. The wife’s name is unknown and never spoken of through out the story. She writes as if she does not have an illness, but her husband is a physician that believes heavily in medication. She has a “temporary nervous depression—a slight historical tendency” (Treichler 61). She said that “he [John] does not believe that I am sick!” (Gilman 290). At the beginning of her journal it seems as though she needed to get out of the city life; and just go to the county and get fresh air. However, it becomes more apparent that this is not the circumstance. As her journal entries continue she starts to talk with a more and involved tone. She starts to concentrate on the little things apposed to the big; such as the yellow wallpaper in her room that has confined her through out the story. The journal entries become nothing more than her “illness” starting to dwell through. She becomes obsessed and paranoid with the patterns of the yellow walls. She will stay up all hours of the day thinking and obsessing over the torn out pieces of the old yellow wallpaper.

In the journal the wife has stated that “this paper looks to me as if it knew what a vicious influence it had” (Gilman 293). This statement just sets a tone of how “sick” or “ill” the wife really is. After reading more of the story one will begin to read that she really believes that there is a woman that lives behind the paper. The wife also has stated that she gets up in the middle of the night to see if the wallpaper is moving (so she thought). She will look at the paper so much that she also thinks that through out the different times of a day that there is a different pattern that can only be seen for a short period of time. This goes to show how obsessed the wife becomes with the old yellow nasty half torn off wallpaper that is in the room that consumes her. She final becomes so ill at she locks herself in the room during her last and final day. One also learns that she believes that she once was a woman in the wall that was unable to get out. She thinks that her husband John symbolizes the wallpaper that the woman behind the torn patterns is unable to escape from him.

The next topic is the wife’s use of imagery. “There are always new shoots on the fungus, and new shades of yellow all over it” (Gilman 298). She will go through out the

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