Write an analysis of "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" critiques the destructive effects of woman's subordination in patriarchal society. She focuses on the mental disintegration of a woman forced into a "rest cure" and kept isolated and inactive. Gilman's use of a first-person narrator effectively conveys the claustrophobia of being trapped in a single room. Likewise, the swirling pattern of the wallpaper works as a symbol of the narrator's growing insanity.

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In "The Yellow Wallpaper," Gilman explores and critiques women's subordination in patriarchal society. She focuses on her time period's ill-advised treatment of women's nervous disorders. In the story, the unnamed first-person protagonist suffers from postpartum depression after the birth of a child. The treatment insisted upon by her husband—based on the rest cures popularized by a real physician, Weir Mitchell—drives the protagonist into insanity rather than curing her.

The story illustrates how voiceless women often were in late nineteenth and early twentieth century society. When the narrator tries to express to her husband her acute needs for physical and mental stimulation, she is infantilized and ignored. She hasn't been allowed to value her own opinions enough to assert herself adequately, so she retreats into insanity.

The first-person narrative works effectively to convey the woman's claustrophobia and increased desperation to escape. The yellow wallpaper, with its bulbous swirls, becomes a symbol of the narrator's entrapment and descent into a madness. Eventually, the narrator begins to see an animal crawling around in the wallpaper and pulls strips of the paper off the wall to set it free. These images of animals and wallpaper stripping reflect the narrator's dehumanization and her attempts to liberate herself from a prison.

The story is famous as a scathing indictment of men not giving women a voice in determining their own needs.

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