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The Yellow Wallpaper - Essay Example

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Barbara A. Suess sees the symbols as an agent to overcome the lack of Lacanian "Imaginary" language beyond the "Symbolic Order" or what cannot be symbolized. Thus every fragment of her unique sense of the self is a mosaic of reactions to the "Wallpaper" and within the "dead paper" of her journal where she uses masculine utterances to give vent to her silenced self. Hence she can only grapple at visual details that correspond to the vague images of her mind that has only found a corresponding "objective correlative" in the wallpaper. Suess calls this her attempt to "create a new order" (Suess, 84). The wallpaper is the canvas where she objectifies herself. The "patterns" of her condition when projected subjectively with expressionistic detail over the wallpaper only appear "gruesome" to her. Slowly one can observe a change in her as she tires herself out and goes out of her way to "think" out a pattern and etch out a space of her own. Suddenly she sees a crack within the interminable and exhaustive "patterns" as they appear as "bars". And beyond that she finds herself buried underneath that charade of "self-control" and "will". Another startling effect is produced by the symbol of daylight and moonlight. It can have indefinite meanings to a post-Freudian reader, but if taken in the context of the narrative pattern itself, the light and darkness seem to directly refer to her new sense of alienation. She sees herself as a social misfit (like all the other creeping women she sees) only because she understands the futility of this silence and restive calm. It is only a decorated surface that mocks her with "bulbous eyes" and lolling heads. She can tolerate or understand John's laughter but not the laughter of those eyes, because she cannot face her own sham. Her sense of self is almost like that 'paper', which under the ownership of the master and like a palimpsest has lost it's own sense of identity and is of a cowardly shade of yellow that follows her everywhere, the smell of which make her constantly aware of her own imprisonment. She tries to free the wallpaper of all its designs and loose all the tiring "daylight" calm and rest off her. The narrator expresses her desire to be seized by the 'moonlight' madness that starts to attack her sporadically. She escapes the humiliating treatment offered to her mind by humiliating her body. She raises herself to the level of physically "creeping" humiliation and "gnawing" beyond all fixed "duties" and free her mind of any further humiliation. Her body by its symbolic detachment from the mentored and monitored habits becomes the only way of writing her own experiences in her own terms and not become tired of maintaining any monstrous "deceit". Again the bestial action of the narrator is juxtaposed to the manicured gardens of the 'colonial' estate. This "hereditary estate may be read metafictionally as the Gothic tradition" (Davison, 49), with adequate settings to fit the ghastly mood of the place.1
Again the symbolisms also help one to understand the unreliability that the reader must exercise in assimilating the narration of the author. The symbols remain the same all through the narrative. First the room is described to be a nursery. Again the narrator surmises that it may have been a playroom and a gymnasium after that, since the "windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls". One ...Show more


The internal assertions voiced through the multiple voices in the use of metaphors, the setting and the foreshadowing comprising the obsessive narration of the narrator and the author attempt to grasp the hysteria of female experience. "The Yellow Wallpaper" only shows the futility writing to pen down female experience…
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The Yellow Wallpaper Essay essay example
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