Analysis Of `` The Yellow Wallpaper `` And The Memoir Girl, Interrupted By Susanna Kaysen

1515 WordsMay 25, 20167 Pages
Sylvia Plath 's novel The Bell Jar, the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and the memoir Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen all tell the story of three women slowly descending into mental illness. Esther, the main character of The Bell Jar falls into a deep depression and attempts suicide despite appearances of being successful. The unnamed narrator of "The Yellow Wallpaper" becomes insane under the care of her physicist husband, John. And Susanna, the autobiographical main character of Girl, Interrupted, attempts suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. Though the books are written in different times, there are many obvious and important similarities between each woman, which can imply that they simply did not just go "mad" but are plagued by the same underlying problem. Comparing the short essay, the novel, and the autobiography, a connection can be made between the expectations placed on women by society and mental illness. Analyzing all three women and their struggle with their mental health shows the overwhelmingly negative effects stereotypical gender roles and expectations can have on women. Esther, Susanna, and the unnamed narrator all struggle to conform into the roles already decided for them such as "mother" and “wife" and surrender to their madness as a last show of protest and to protect themselves from the expectations imposed on them by society. In the 19th century, in which "The Yellow Wallpaper" was written, Victorian ideals of

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