How Being A Woman In The Nineteenth Century Could Literally Drive You Crazy: The Protagonist of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” And

1567 Words7 Pages
Unlike the modern medicine, during the nineteenth century when the story “The yellow wallpaper”, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman takes place postpartum depression was not even considered a viable affliction. As a result Gilman’s unnamed protagonist and narrator, a wife of a doctor named John, suffers unnecessarily with the common illness ultimately plunging into insanity. The lack of understanding in the mental health field at that time is a contributing factor; however it is not the only thing to blame for “Mrs. John’s” downward spiral. Mrs. John herself contributes in her own undoing merely by doing what is expected of her as a subservient woman in that era. When first introduced to Mrs. John, she is being taken to a colonial mansion her…show more content…
Mrs. John believes John is a loving and caring husband, but the fact that John continues to work for the duration of their stay in the mansion suggests that he has taken Mrs. John there to hide her away while she is ill. Mrs. John’s perceived malady may have been an embarrassment for John. Even Mrs. John believes she needs to give John a break from dealing with her stating, “I meant to be a help for John, such a real rest and comfort, and here I am a comparative burden already!”(Gilman, 381) John in fact does not believe that there is really anything wrong with Mrs. John and stays away from her for long periods of time leaving his sister Jennie to care for her. Mrs. John feels some “congenial work, with excitement and change” and “more society and stimulus” would do her good. John believes those things would be the worst thing for Mrs. John. So in being a good wife Mrs. John just goes against her better judgment and follows John’s orders. As the story progresses you can see the harmful psychological effects of the rest cure unfold in Mrs. John. Mrs. John gradually becomes more and more preoccupied with the ugly yellow wall paper in her room. Mrs. John spends hours tracing the lines in the wallpapers pattern trying to make sense of the design. Mrs. John begins imaging that the wallpaper is full of eyes staring at her. Then Mrs. John starts to see, “a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure that seems to skulk about” in the

    More about How Being A Woman In The Nineteenth Century Could Literally Drive You Crazy: The Protagonist of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” And

      Get Access