How does Charolotte Gilman use gothic conventions to create text in "The Yellow Wallpaper"?The gothic conventions she uses are: - idea of entrapment - mysteriousness of the wallpaper (e.g its...

How does Charolotte Gilman use gothic conventions to create text in "The Yellow Wallpaper"?

The gothic conventions she uses are:

- idea of entrapment

- mysteriousness of the wallpaper (e.g its design and curves)

- isolated setting

- insanity issue

Asked on by sidra112

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Certainly you could write an essay on the use of any one of the Gothic conventions you have highlighted above, and in a sense it is important to realise how all of them are inter-related through the excellent story that this author has created. I will limit my answer to refering to the wallpaper and the description we are given of it, whilst highlighting briefly how it is linked to some of the other Gothic conventions you have outlined.

Certainly, from the very first introduction we are given of the wallpaper, the impact it will have on the narrator is foreshadowed. Note how it is described:

It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide--plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard-of contradictions.

The description clearly foreshadows the internal violence and madness into which the narrator will descend as she contemplates this wallpaper more and more. The violence of suicide and the "unheard-of contradictions" both suggest the powerful way that the wallpaper is linked to the narrator's mental state. This is something that is developed through the story as the narrator comes to see a trapped woman in the wallpaper, which obviously links in to the idea of entrapment but also the divide between insanity and sanity, as the woman is a projection of herself. Thus it is at the end that the narrator comes to identify more with this woman than her own self, walking around the edge of the room and waiting to get behind the wallpaper.

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