The visuals and the symbolic imagery of the setting helps the readers connect with the characters more ND thus builds a connection through the entirety of the story. The opening of the setting directly correlates with the narrator’s thoughts and feelings. It is also one of the crucial reasons as to why the narrator falls deeply ill to the depicted background. We come to see that the narrator of the story who is the woman, lives in a isolated mansion or a “haunted house”(394) as she would call it. The metaphor of the haunted house shows the woman’s concern and displacement about the house from the start.
Gradually as the months pass, she becomes increasingly ill and her very sanity shows. Her husband’s way of treatment and rest only forces her to get worse and not better. She states to John, “That spoils my ghostliness, I am afraid, but I don’t care-? there is something strange about the house-?I can feel it”. The statement depicts her troubled emotions both mentally and emotionally regarding the mansion. Gradually as the months pass, she becomes increasingly ill and her very sanity becomes worse. She starts to become fixated with the yellow wallpaper in her room.
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She quotes “they connect diagonally, and the sprawling outlines run off in great slanting waves of optic error, like a lot of wallowing seaweeds in full chase(403). ” The detailed observations made by her towards the ending of the text describe her cry for help to stop her illness and the only therapy she knows as liberating. What she doesn’t understand is her illness as seen in the text worsens as she runs her imagination through the surroundings of the wallpaper. She feels trapped and her only way out to her lies in the wallpaper.
She develops vivid images about the entire house and the negative feelings that comes with it. She uses words such as queer and afraid from the beginning of the story to explore her concern for the house. In one of her quotes, she states “l am sitting by the window now, up in this atrocious nursery, and there is nothing to hinder my writing as much as I please, save lack of strength—But these nervous troubles are dreadfully depressing(396). ” The statements display her boredom and depression from not being able to write and explore her thoughts as prescribed by her doctor of a husband.
That alone gives her mind to roam endlessly bout the possibilities of the wallpaper. The importance of the setting provides a power tool in which her condition intensifies as her reality escapes into the yellow wallpaper. It leads to her ultimate obsession with the yellow wallpaper. Another powerful piece of the setting would the time the book took place. The book is published in 1892 so it can be assumed that it took place in the 18th through 19th century. During this time, women are still fighting for equality and a stand in society compared to today.
The men are the dominant leaders of the household and women would obey their decisions and follow only to their lead without their own opinions mattering. Therefore, the husband disregards his wife’s opinions about her condition. The story displays her husband as kind and caring; always attending to his wife’s needs. He feels he knows the right treatments for her when in reality, he was trapping her in an isolated room with no one to talk to or able to express her feelings. He also calls her “little girl” in an attempt to belittle her decision making when she wanted to leave the house.
The woman also feels guilty for the things her husband goes for her like reading to her for hours and calling her darling. She does not understand that her insanity stems from distancing her emotions from her husband and into her own world of fantasies that lead to her fixation on the wall paper. Therefore without any help from the outside world or anyone to turn to, she felt like her own prisoner trapped inside the room with only the yellow wallpaper in her mind to keep her own sanity from worsening. There are many subtle metaphors and hidden meanings describing the setting of the wallpaper.
There are clues towards he ending of the story that the events following her experience with the wallpaper may have also happened previously with other women. She states, “l don’t like to look out of the windows even-?there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast. I wonder if they come out of that wallpaper as I did” which shows she might have believed the events occurred before. Thus as the story building up, the setting portrays her need to tear off all the wallpaper in a means to escape from her own imprisoned self and the lives of previously trapped women behind the leaper.
After the woman tears off the wallpaper, the setting immediately changes as she liberates herself from her own illness that caused her depression since the beginning. There is no longer the yellow wallpaper and the freedom of celebration from her husband. She is now seen in control instead of her husband. Every part of the setting influences the way the story was set. Had the setting changed entirely in an uplifting and positive vibe than the outcome would have been completely different. She may not have had any ill conditions if things were set differently.