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The Yellow Wall-Paper A Twist on Conventional Symbols Reflecting their role in society women in literature are often portrayed in a position that is dominated by men Especially in the nineteenth century women were repressed and controlled by their husbands as well as other male influences In The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman the protagonist is oppressed and represents the effect of the oppression of women in society This effect is created by the use of complex symbols such as the house the window and the wall-paper which facilitate her oppression as well as her self expression It is customary to find the symbol of the house as representing a secure place for a womans transformation and her release of self expression However in this story the house is not her own and she does not want to be in it She declares it is haunted and that there is something queer about it Although she acknowledges the beauty of the house and especially what surrounds it she constantly goes back to her feeling that there is something strange about the house Her impression is like a premonition for the transformation that takes place in herself while she is there In this way the house still is the cocoon for her transformation It does not take the form of the traditional symbol of security for the domestic activities of a woman but it does allow for and contain her metamorphosis The house also facilitates her release accommodating her her writing and her thoughts These two activities evolve because of the fact that she is kept in the house One specific characteristic of the house that symbolizes not only her potential but also her trapped feeling is the window Traditionally this symbol represents a view of possibilities but now it also becomes a view to what she does not want to see
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