Without any doubt, the story “The Yellow Wallpaper” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman draws a historic overview of an attitude to women in the 19 th century. This story is full of different symbols that help us better understand the issue of oppression of the female class in that period of time.
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It is conventional to divide the symbolic background into structural models of the psyche defined by Zigmund Freud: id, ego and alter ago. Firstly, id is amplified as a part of our personal effort to achieve pleasure regardless of pain and negative circumstances. In this story the id part is clarified with the symbol of bed. It is chained down to the floor as the symbol of the failure of satisfaction of inner wishes. The chains symbolize a ruthless men power against women. Furthermore, the symbol of moonlight refers to id part as well, since in this time arises female activity and her desire to achieve pleasure. The narrator tells us that during the day women fallen into trap is motionless, boring and obsessive. However, the moonlight shows up and it symbolizes the woman revival. Secondly, the ego part is represented by the symbol of the notebook. The heroine was trying to conceal reality in it. This notebook symbolizes inner world of the heroine, her consciousness and her sense of self. It indicates the stark reality in the 19 th century. Finally, the alter ego part is characterized by the symbol of tearing down the yellow wallpaper. This symbol is amplified by self-realization of women, emancipation from total control of men and feeling of absolute pleasure from freedom.
All in all, the symbols in “The Yellow Wallpaper” are employed with the aim of explaining the role of women in the 19 th century, patriarchal society, abuse of woman rights and struggling for the equality. At the end of the story it is obvious that woman reaches the manifestation of the alter ago and utterly gets free by tearing the wallpaper to tatters.