Syntax In The Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, first published in 1892. The story is narrated by a woman who is suffering from postpartum depression and is prescribed complete bed rest by her husband. The woman becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper in her room, and the story follows her descent into madness.

The language and syntax of The Yellow Wallpaper are integral to the story’s themes of mental illness and oppression. The narrator’s deteriorating mental state is reflected in the increasingly chaotic and fragmented syntax of her writing. The use of first-person perspective allows readers to experience the narrator’s descent into madness firsthand, making The Yellow Wallpaper a powerful work of psychological horror.

The first sentence of The Yellow Wallpaper is It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer (Gilman 1). The use of we rather than I creates us versus them dynamic as if John and the narrator are two different entities.

The fact that she refers to him as mere ordinary people suggests that she does not think highly of him. The next time the word we is used is when the narrator says we came here solely on my account, because I was nervous (Gilman 1). This furthers the idea that there is a separation between her and her husband. The narrator then proceeds to say We have been here two weeks , and already I feel ten years older (Gilman 1).

The narrator is already feeling the effects of being isolated in the ancestral hall. The word we is used one last time in the opening paragraph when the narrator says The house is quite alone, standing well back from the road, quite three miles from the village (Gilman 1). The use of we again suggests that there is a separation between her and John. The fact that she refers to the house as quite alone emphasizes her isolation.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses syntax to gradually reveal the narrator s deteriorating mental state. In the beginning of The Yellow Wallpaper, the sentences are relatively short and concise. As the story progresses, the sentences become longer and more detailed. For example, early on in the story, the narrator says John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage (Gilman 2). The sentence is direct and to the point.

The narrator then says I am here because I fell ill two months ago while we were visiting cousins in Woburn (Gilman 2). The use of the word while suggests that the narrator was not really sick, but something happened while they were visiting cousins. The fact that she says we were visiting cousins rather than John and I were visiting cousins further suggests that there is a separation between her and her husband.

The next sentence, I had a nervous breakdown is true, but I am all right again now (Gilman 2), is much longer and more detailed than the previous sentence. The fact that the narrator felt the need to explain what a nervous breakdown is suggests that she is not really all right again. The narrator then says That was why John would not let me go back to my house when it was empty last fall (Gilman 2).

The use of the word when rather than if suggests that the narrator knows her house was going to be empty. The fact that she says John would not let me go back further suggests that there is a separation between her and her husband. The next sentence, He said he would send someone in to keep house for me, but he did n t like to have me so far away from him (Gilman 2), is even longer and more detailed than the previous sentence.

In the case of a normal woman evaluating her husband’s job and her own supposed sickness, language plays an important role. The narrator comes across as intelligent if not a little paranoid-less concerned with a slight hysterical bent but rather a queer untenanted (Gilman 691) home.

Her mistrust emerges early on; at first, it appears to be misdirection meant to hint at a possible ghost tale. She goes on to discuss the most lovely location, which has a delectable garden (Gilman 692). Her description is that of an old home, which leads readers to picture a strong lady in a new environment.

This all changes when John moves her to the nursery. The wallpaper becomes their obsession and she soon falls into a pattern of ripping it off the walls and observing it for hours on end. The language used in The Yellow Wallpaper is important as it helps to create the feeling of deteriorating mental health in the narrator.

The first hint that something is not right coming when the narrator says, I sometimes fancy that in my state of mind if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus should get well like other people (Gilman 691). The use of words like fancy and state of mind immediately makes the reader question the narrator’s sanity. The word choice continues throughout the story as the narrator becomes more obsessed with the wallpaper.

She describes it as having a smell, being sickly sweet like the fruit of a fungus (Gilman 693). The wallpaper also becomes a character in the story, almost taunting the narrator as she tries to decipher its hidden meaning. The use of language creates an eerie feeling that something is not right, helping to build the suspense in the story.

The syntax also plays an important role in The Yellow Wallpaper. The short, choppy sentences help to create a feeling of unease and confusion. This is seen when the narrator says, I never saw such a dull and ugly color before, it reminds me of that room (Gilman 693). The use of words like dull and ugly add to the feeling that something is off with the wallpaper. The sentence structure also changes as the story progresses, becoming more fragmented and difficult to follow. This mirrors the deterioration of the narrator’s mental state as she becomes more obsessed with the wallpaper.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses language and syntax effectively in The Yellow Wallpaper to create a feeling of unease and suspense. The use of words and sentences helps to build the tension in the story and create a sense of foreboding that something is not right. The Yellow Wallpaper is a masterful example of how language can be used to create an atmosphere of horror and madness.

She is able to communicate easily as she does so, her voice steady and fluent. Her ideas about her husband’s treatment (paragraphes 6 and 7) provide a foundation for her thoughts. She is able to express her sentiments regarding her position in the same way that anybody else would be able to do.

The reader is unconvinced of the author’s objective. It adds to its ease and verifies her capacity to convey complicated ideas. Syntax, on the other hand, offers a different viewpoint on the narrator’s behavior by drawing attention to her odd actions in terms of syntax. The narrator s phrases have gotten shorter and more basic with each new entry.

The lack of detail and description highlight her mental state as she fixates on the wallpaper. The language and syntax of The Yellow Wallpaper create a contrast that allows readers to see the decline in the narrator s mental state.

The beginning of The Yellow Wallpaper sets up a contrast between the protagonist s sanity and her mental state. Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses sentence structure and syntax to develop this contrast throughout the story. The protagonist starts out speaking in long, fluid sentences full of detail and description. However, as her mental state deteriorates, her sentence structure becomes shorter and simpler, lacking the detail and precision of her earlier thoughts. This change in syntax highlights the decline in the protagonist s mental state, providing a deeper understanding of the story.

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