In the story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Charlotte Gilman illustrates psychological collapse of a woman under the pressure of social norms. Gothic images are reflected in the home and marriage that foreshadows the woman’s troublesome marriage.
In the room where the protagonist stayed, the wallpaper carried gothic elements. Typically gothic elements are usually light and dark. However, the yellow wallpaper in the room is quite menacing, displaying something aged and decaying. The color of the wall is a “smoldering yellow” committing every “artistic sin”(Gilman 133).
The use of the word “smoldering”, defined as being suppressed in emotions or actions, suggests she mirrors this same feeling towards her marriage with John. The “unclean” color of the wall presents itself dark in nature (Gilman 133). The mansion was labeled a “haunted house”, providing more gothic evidence (Gilman 131).
Furthermore, the room she resided awakened feelings that the room was haunted, even if it was only her mind. The protagonist’s isolation is brought by her husband John, who makes sure she rests.. The woman requested to be moved to another room, but he declined.
John offered a proposal of “repapering the room, but afterward, he said it was letting it get the better of me”(Gilman 134). This act of toying with feelings is typical of a dominant male figure in a gothic story who forces a female into seclusion.The nameless protagonist who is powerless and the woman in the wall can be viewed as the same person, but different personalities. The single woman replicates to many when the protagonist states “there are so many of those creeping women and they creep so fast,” proposing she may have multiple personalities (Gilman 146). After she tears the wallpaper off and frees the embodiment of a woman, she thinks frees herself.
The detachment presented suggest a darker more horrific representation of a gothic character.