The Yellow Wallpaper : A Feminist Cry

Decent Essays

The Yellow Wallpaper: A Feminist Cry Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, portrays a woman who has postpartum depression and is confined to her bedroom with atrocious yellow wallpaper. Gilman writes from a time when women were oppressed and not taken seriously in social context. Her depiction of a depressed woman who is imprisoned in a room by her husband represents the societal oppression of women in the patriarchal society of the American nineteenth century. This story is not merely a gothic horror as many critics have stated; although, the story does hold aspects like a broken mind and imprisonment, the story is not completely a gothic horror. Paula A. Treichler also interpreted this story as as a feminist cry rather than a gothic horror when she stated the story is “a fictional challenge to the patriarchal diagnosis of women’s condition, it is also a public critique of a real medical treatment.” (“Escaping the Sentence” 70). The author depicts a feminist story that brings to light the social inequality women faced through descriptive diction of the husband, setting both within and outside of the bedroom, and the structure and symbolism of nine breaks in the story. The author chose diction to portray the husband as a controlling man to represent the inequality women felt in marriages in the nineteenth century. John, the husband and physician of the sick woman, downplayed the severity of his wife’s illness which, made her illness intensify.

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