“The Yellow Wallpaper”
I think that the very form of a bent, creeping woman trapped within the confinements of the erratic designs within the yellow wallpaper that the unnamed protagonist of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story slowly begins to visualize is actually nothing more than a representation of herself. On numerous instances the story refers to the main character’s illness, or “temporary nervous depression” – aka hysteria – of which her physician husband John, and his sister/housekeeper/caregiver, Jennie, are attempting to suppress and eventually eradicate.
When they first take up residency in the “ancestral halls” which she also refers to as “a haunted house,” she is at first upset and unnerved by the very yellow wallpaper and its “sprawling, flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin” that lines her sprawling bedroom overlooking the entire estate; however, over the course of the following three months of their stay, she slowly becomes intrigued and even fixated by that very wallpaper. She actively begins to see ominous and disturbing forms shape-shift in the glow of the moonlight upon the wallpaper such as “strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growths,” but most unnervingly, she begins to distinguish the figure of a woman imprisoned behind the intertwining bars who appears to be desperately trying to escape her papered prison.
The story’s protagonist herself feels as though she is being held captive and caudled almost like a “little girl” by all those around her. She is practically being forced to remain on indefinite bed rest in an attempt to avoid as much physical and/or mental exertion as humanly possible. And even though it appears that the story itself was stylized as if she were writing in a private journal or perhaps secretly writing letters to a confidant, it briefly alludes to the fact that her husband/doctor looked down upon such a mundane activity when he thinks that she should be more focused on improving herself...