1 IntroductionThe purpose of this paper is to identify and analyze those symbolisms

1. IntroductionThe purpose of this paper is to identify and analyze those symbolisms prominent in “the yellow wallpaper” which represent the struggles of the oppression of females in the 19th century. “The yellow wallpaper” manages to represent the patriarchal society, specifically that of the 19th century in America, and is thus often read as a feminist literature. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892) is about a woman, the unnamed narrator of this short story, who gets diagnosed with a “temporary nervous depression” (648) by her husband John, who is a physician. Even though he does not truly believe her to be sick, he decides to move to a “colonial mansion” (647) for the summer in hopes to cure said depression with a lot of rest and little distraction from the outside. Even though the narrator is not supposed to write, as this would, according to John, only worsen her state of mind, she does so anyways, keeping a diary without her husband’s knowledge. In this she describes her stay at the house and how she is treated; mostly about how her husband treats her. She also describes her dislike for the room she is staying in and especially her distaste of the yellow wallpaper, which becomes the most prominent sybol throughout the entire short story. 2. Symbolism as representation for female oppression2.1. The houseThis short story is packed with symbolism, one of the first encounters being the house the narrator and her husband stay in. It is describes as a “colonial mansion, a hereditary estate” (647) and represents the patriarchal society in which they live; the society which restricts the narrator and women in general. She finds something to be eerie about the house, even calls it “haunted” (647) but her husband brushes it off, laughing about it and simply blaming her feelings on a “draught” (748).The room she stays in represents this even further. The narrator thinks it used to be a nursery due to the window that had been “barred for little children” (648). This and the “nailed down” (650) bed produce the uncomfortable feeling of a prison which is underlined by the fact that the narrator doesn’t get to leave the room very often as she is supposed to rest as much as possible in order to get over her depression. The room’s wallpaper immediately catches the narrator’s attention; however, it is not in a good way. She announces to have never seen a “worse paper in [her] life” (648) and describes it with negative words calling the colour “repelland, almost revolting” (649). At first it seems to be bearable to live in but the longer the narrator stays in the room or the house, the more she wants to leave, the more it seems to be “haunted” (647). What only seemed to be her imagination at first turns out to be true due to her growing paranoia and the woman spooking behind the wallpaper. Similarly, the narrator has always lived in a society which oppresses women, blatantly accepting the norms. However, throughout her life she has grown to be more and more uncomfortable with this and the gender norms, wanting to break out of it. According to Barbara A. Suess the room the narrator is placed in and the wallpaper in it have eventually influenced the narrator’s mind, adding to her loss of sanity and paranoia. (92). 2.2 JohnThe narrator’s husband, John, perfectly represents the patriarchal society of the 19th century. According to Karen Ford this is also portrayed by the fact that John first gets introduced as a physician and then husband, first relating him to patriarchy and then to his wife (310). The narrator is clearly subordinate to John, as she does what he says without much of a debate. John controls almost all of her actions and her every day by scheduling “each hour in the day” (Gilman, 648). Even though the narrator is not happy about it, feeling “ungrateful not to value it more” (648), she obeys her husband’s orders. The only thing she really does that goes against what John and everyone else tells her is that she continues to write in secret. She otherwise accepts what John tells her. She takes medication, “phosphates or phosphites – whichever it is” (648), even though she doesn’t believe it to help her and she gives up on trying to stay in a different room or at least have the wallpaper changed as John calls them “fancies” (649) which she shall not give in to. She only silently curses out her husband in the diary he keeps, disagreeing with him and arguing against what he says. The repression by her husband goes as far as giving her the illusion of a conspiracy planned by John and his sister (Carol Margaret Davison 60) . 2.3 The wallpaperThe most prominent and probably most important symbol in the short story is that of the yellow wallpaper. At first the wallpaper is nothing but “horrid paper” (649) that the narrator wishes to dispose of. However, her husband refuses this and urges her not to give into her “fancies” (649) as it will only start with the paper and then go on to her wanting to change every little detail of the room. However, the more time she spends in the room, the more she starts to analyze the yellow wallpaper. The narrator eventually describes it to have two patterns; a “front design” and a “kind of sub-pattern” (650). The front design consists of different lines pointing in various directions, while the sub-pattern shows a woman “stooping down and creeping about” (652). According to Pula A. Treichler and nineteenth- century readers the yellow wallpaper represents several things:The yellow wallpaper represents (1) the narrator’s own mind, (2) the narrator’s unconscious, (3) the “pattern”” of social and economic dependence which reduces women to domestic slavery. The woman in the wallpaper represents (1) the narrator herself

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