The Yellow Wallpaper: A Feminist Prison

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The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses aspects of the feminist theory to develop the plot as well as create an image of the time. The narrator lives in a patriarchal society where a man’s opinions are rarely, if ever questioned. Throughout the course of the story, the opinions of the narrator, a female, are not valued; men plan out every aspect of her life. The narrator is also treated as weaker than her male counterparts and is referred to using pet names, particularly those given to children. Finally, due to the previously mentioned components of her life, the narrator is confined to the attic of the mansion and it is likely that it is this confinement that drove her to insanity. The Yellow Wallpaper opposes feminist …show more content…
It is decided that with a variety of medicines, supplemented with fresh air and absolutely no work, activity or socialization, she will become well again, although she has postpartum depression and not a physical disease. The narrator, on the other hand, disagrees with John’s statement that he would “as soon put fireworks in my [the narrator’s] pillow case as to let me have those stimulating people [their cousins] about now” (4). She feels that getting out of bed and away from her thoughts would do her good. Her opinion is in fact the opinion of expert’s today, as the Canadian Mental Health Association lists spending time with friends and participating in social activities as two of their five suggestions for coping with postpartum depression ("Canadian Mental Health Association"). However, due to her low standing as a woman of the house, it simply doesn’t matter what she thinks. Her husband feels she is improving, and although she does not, that also is not important. Because of the supposed success of her treatment, it is continued and she is forced to lie in her bed at the top of the house, pushed out of view with nothing but her thoughts for weeks on end.
Not only are the narrator’s opinions not valued, she is treated as a child. When speaking with her, he refers to her as a “blessed little goose” (Gilman, 3) and a “little girl”(7). Clearly he does not take her seriously and assumes her to be no more intelligent than an animal or a child. His opinion of…