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Essay on Jane's Search for Self-identity in The Yellow Wallpaper

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Jane's Search for Self-identity in The Yellow Wallpaper  


  "The Yellow Wallpaper," written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in the late nineteenth century, explores the dark forbidding world of one woman's plunge into a severe post-partum depressive state. The story presents a theme of the search for self-identity. Through interacting with human beings and the environment, the protagonist creates for herself a life of her own.

Charlotte Gilman, through the first person narrator, speaks to the reader of the stages of psychic disintegration by sharing the narrator's heightened perceptions: "That spoils my ghostliness, I am afraid, but I don't care--there is something strange about the house--I can feel it" (304). The conflicting emotions of power and control versus loss of control are expressed in her reactions to her husband: "I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes. . . .so I take pains to control myself--before him at least, and that makes me very tired" (304). The progressive stages of the narrator's loss of reality are eloquently shown in these passages:

I always...


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