Postpartum Depression And The Yellow Wallpaper

1536 WordsMar 10, 20157 Pages
Postpartum Depression and “The Yellow Wallpaper” The descent into madness by the main character in “The Yellow Wallpaper” shows the impact of postpartum depression coupled with the oppression of women during the time period in which it was written. The author, Charlotte Gilman, suffered from postpartum depression herself and is considered the model for the main character and what she goes through, as chronicled in an article she later wrote in 1913 entitled “Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper.” The woman in the story is taken for a “nervous condition” to have a rest cure prescribed by her husband, Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, where the woman is essentially locked up against her will in a bedroom with limited human contact or means to occupy her time. The pattern of the yellow wallpaper in the room serves as prison bars as she continues to go mad. The main character is treated as a piece of property, prescribed a treatment for what is clearly postpartum depression that only furthers her condition rather than cures it, causing her to become beyond help, which directly portrays the subservient role of women in society at that time. The main character’s “nervous condition” is most certainly postpartum depression. This illness, along with many other mental illnesses, was little understood or recognized at this time. At the beginning, the reader is told that the woman has a "temporary nervous depression-a slight hysterical tendency," as diagnosed by her physician husband “of high

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