"The Yellow Wallpaper": A Look Into Post-Partum Depression

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story, The Yellow Wallpaper, portrays the life and mind of a woman suffering from post-partum depression in the late eighteenth century. Gilman uses setting to strengthen the impact of her story by allowing the distant country mansion symbolize the loneliness of her narrator, Jane. Gilman also uses flat characters to enhance the depth of Jane’s thoughts; however, Gilman’s use of narrative technique impacts her story the most. In The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses interior monologue to add impact to Jane’s progression into insanity, to add insight into the relationships in the story, and to increase the depth of Jane’s connection with the yellow wallpaper it self. First, Gilman’s use of …show more content…

In contrast, at the end of the story, Jane’s shocking proclamations of, “I’ve got out at last,” and, “In spite of you (John) and Jane. And I have pulled of most of the paper so you can’t put me back,” (336), mark Jane’s final mental collapse. The changes that Jane’s mental state go through are made more powerful by Gilman’s use of interior monologue, which allows the reader to experience the change first hand through Jane’s thoughts. Secondly, not only does interior monologue give impact to Jane’s thoughts toward her situation and illness, but this point of view style gives unique insight into the relationships among Jane and the other characters, especially the those between Jane and her husband, John, and her sister-in-law, Jennie. At the beginning of Gilman’s story, the husband and wife relationship of Jane and John follows the pattern of the time with John taking the part of the dominant yet well-meaning husband, and Jane taking the part of the obedient wife. Except for her forbidden writing, Jane follows John’s treatment guidelines (326); however, throughout the story, the respect and obedience Jane exhibits toward John at the first start to deteriorate, and suspicion and resentment replace it. One example of this change is when Jane states, “John is away all day, and even some nights when his cases are serious. I am glad that my case is not serious!” (327). Not only does her paranoia grow toward John, but also toward her sister-in-law, Jennie. The

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