The Main Themes of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Main Themes of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

The short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" is about a woman who is suffering from depression (probably post-natal) and a nervous breakdown. Whilst trying to recover in an isolated country house, her condition deteriorates as her paranoia takes over. Her condition is not helped by the fact that her husband has forced her to inhabit a room with irritating features, namely the wallpaper. The story contains themes of entrapment, resignation, paranoia and the male domination of the time.

The story was written in 1892, before women had gained the right to vote. Stetson was a keen women's right campaigner and felt that blatant male
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She believes that the fact that he is a physician is making her condition worse, 'perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster,' she feels helpless which wears her out more. Another reason she can't argue with him was because he is a man. Men were regarded as socially superior up until after the First World War and to some extent they are still regarded in this light today. She feels afraid of her husband not only because he's a man but because he's a professional doctor and so he 'knows more' than her on the subject. Her brother is also a physician and is also, obviously male. He agrees with her husband and so there is definitely nothing she can do as there is a two on one situation. Throughout the early stages of the book the wife expresses her fear of John indirectly to the reader. She seems to have many ideas of ways that she thinks will improve her condition but at the end of it dismisses these ideas as she doesn't think John would approve. For example she had the idea that letting her see people and having more stimuli would help but she dismisses it
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