“Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence whether much that is glorious whether all that is profound does not spring from disease of thought from mood of mind exalted at expense of the general intellect,”(Edgar Allan Poe; Complete Tales and Poems). Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the author of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” was a feminist and social critic during the 1800-1900’s, and was also a successful lecturer and intellectual. She also suffered from severe and continuous breakdowns. On August 17, 1935 Charlotte Perkins Gilman committed suicide. “Both her fiction and nonfiction addressed the sexual, social, and economic oppression of women, and they drew on Gilman's own personal life, including her relationships with men.”(Judith A. Allen. The Feminism of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Sexualities, Histories, Progressivism.(Women in Culture and Society Series.)) “The Yellow Wallpaper” focuses on the main character who is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, (PTS) as a result of just recently having a baby. This short story is a story of breaking free from the many tribulations and oppressions life can bring upon human beings. In the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman, uses symbolism to convey the theme of circumstantial insanity. For example the wallpaper is a symbol of the main character being trapped by society’s perception of a women’s role during the time in which the story takes place, she uses the women the main character sees coming from behind the wallpaper in the story as a symbol of the main character finally breaking free and coming out of the shackles from the many things that’s oppress her, and Charlotte Gilman uses the main character’s husband along with their nanny to symbolize a few of the oppressors who are trying to keep her trapped several oppressions. First, Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses the wallpaper as a symbol of the main character being trapped by society's perception of a woman's role during the time the story takes place to convey a theme of circumstantial insanity. Charlotte Perkins Gilman used the main character in “The Yellow Wallpaper” to express how she felt about society’s view on a woman’s role during that time. “Gilman came to believe that a man's conjugal rights to his wife contributed to women's economic oppression. A woman's only chance at a secure future was marriage, and therefore she had to please her husband in order to get material support.”( Judith A. Allen. The Feminism of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Sexualities, Histories, Progressivism.(Women in Culture and Society Series.)). In this “It is the same woman, I know, for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight.”(The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman). Gilman is expressing how woman during that time in society had to act. Woman had to act like ladies who never did any creeping during the day because they had tend to other duties of woman such; as cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children.
Second, the author uses the main characters husband along with their nanny to symbolize a few of the oppressors who are trying to keep her trapped in her several oppressions. Her husband is a symbol of an oppressor trying to keep her trapped in her oppressions because he felt that the best way for her to overcome her mental illness was to isolate her from the outside world. Usually when someone is mentally ill they are sent away to a clinic to get the special care and help they need in order for them to get better. The main characters husband who was a physician saw fit that he take his wife to a house where she could get well just like a mental institution and because of that the main character felt as if she really could not get well the way she should. He kept her locked away in one specific room, the room with the yellow wallpaper. This room was suited just for