In 1892, a short story by the name of “The Yellow Wallpaper” was written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a well-known author and feminist of the late 19th century. The story was initially inspired by her personal experiences and the actions that followed after. Although the story was correlated to actual events, many of the scenes described in “The Yellow Wallpaper” prove to be exaggerated in comparison to the author’s experience. Similarly, the author and narrator of the story (who goes by no name) both suffer from the same condition known as neurasthenia, misconstrued to be identical to hysteria. The story was created in spite to denounce the treatments prescribed to her, as well as to personify the misogynistic influence that lead to these treatments that pertained to women. Gilman represents the feminist position being oppressed by the swift judgements of their male counterparts to highlight the negligent idea that created such unusual treatments.
Many intellectual artists, who are widely acclaimed for their literary work, live in a world characterized by “progressive insanity” (Gilman 20). Charlotte Perkins Gilman was one such individual. A writer during the early 20th century, Gilman suffered from bouts of deep depression, due part to her dissatisfaction with the limitations of her role as wife and mother. Her writing, particularly her famous story “The Yellow Wallpaper” reflects experiences from her personal life. In doing so, “she achieved some control over both her illness and her past” (Lane 128). Many people still admire the fact that Gilman wrote her piece “to save people from being driven crazy;” however, perhaps she
“The Yellow Wallpaper,” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1892, is a great example of early works pertaining to feminism and the disease of insanity. Charlotte Gilman’s own struggles as a woman, mother, and wife shine through in this short story capturing the haunting realism of a mental breakdown.The main character, much like Gilman herself, slips into bouts of depression after the birth of her child and is prescribed a ‘rest cure’ to relieve the young woman of her suffering. Any use of the mind or source of stimulus is strictly prohibited, including the narrator’s favorite hobby of writing. The woman’s husband, a physician, installs into his wife that the rest treatment is correct and will only due harm if not followed through. This type of treatment ultimately drives the woman insane, causing her to envision a woman crawling behind the yellow wallpaper of her room. Powerlessness and repression the main character is subject to creates an even more poignant message through the narrator’s mental breakdown. The ever present theme of subordination of women in “The Yellow Wallpaper” is advanced throughout the story by the literary devices of symbolism, imagery, and allegory.
The surroundings which one is placed in can drastically contribute to their mental state. Deterioration and a lack of stimulation will be reciprocated within the mind of the inhabitant. “The Yellow Wallpaper,” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1892, depicts a young, unnamed woman who is suffering with post-partum depression. In this time period, the treatment of mental illness typically did more harm than good as electroshock therapy, and the rest cure were the classic treatments of choice. Similarly, William Faulkner, the author of “A Rose for Emily”, written in 1930, gives the reader an inside look upon an elderly woman experiencing mental distress. Although there are major signs of an issue being present within Miss Emily’s old, southern house, the town chooses to ignore and cover them up as to not disrupt the elderly woman who buys poisons without a reason and sleeps next to the dead corpse of her lover. Theme and setting play two very distinct and important roles within each of these stories allowing the reader to have a more complete understanding of the message the author is trying to convey.
In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story, The Yellow Wallpaper, the setting is very symbolic when analyzing the different the meanings of this book. The main character in the story is sick with nervous depression. In the story, John, her husband, and also a physician, takes his wife to a house in the middle of the summer and confines her to one room in hopes of perfect rest for her. As the story progresses, it is made clear that confinement, sanity, insanity, and freedom are all tied together and used to make the setting of the story symbolic.
In the 1950’s, women weren’t respected for doing anything besides being an outstanding wife and mother. Women and men weren’t on the same level when it came to rights in the eyes of the law. Also during this time, mental illnesses were not accurately researched, and since doctors weren’t fully aware of all the information about mental illnesses, patients did not always get the best treatment and were treated as freaks. In the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, both of these elements are present. Gilman did a wonderful job portraying how women are not taken seriously and how lightly mental illnesses are taken. Gilman had, too, had firsthand experience with the physician in the story. Charlotte Perkins Gilman 's believes that there really was no difference in means of way of thinking between men or women is strongly. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a short story about a woman who has a mental illness but cannot heal due to her husband 's lack of belief. The story appears to happen during a time period where women were mistreated. Women were treated as second rate people in community during this time period. Charlotte Perkins Gilman shows the thought process of the community during the time period in which “The Yellow Wallpaper” is written. Using knowledge on equal rights between women and men, one can carefully study “The Yellow Wallpaper” by
In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” she discusses some of the issues found in 19th century society such as women’s oppression and the treatment of mental illness. Many authors throughout history have written stories that mimic their own lives and we see this in the story. We see Gilman in the story portrayed as Jane, a mentally unstable housewife who cannot escape her husband’s oppression or her own mind. Gilman reveals a life of depression and women’s oppression through her short story “The Yellow Wallpaper.”
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born in 1860, in the city of Hartford, CT. She would later move to California. She would end her own life in 1935, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought for women’s rights and was an advocate of socialism. She wrote novels, poetry and short stories. She was a woman who was educated; her writing reflected her knowledge, relating to her strong thoughts on woman’s rights and independence and how women of Victorian times suffered from this lack of rights. In her short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Charlotte Perkins Gilman conveys her views on feminism and how women are treated through characters who represent this treatment. The characters she uses help the reader really get drawn into her story;
In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s brilliant work, The Yellow Wallpaper, readers explore the consequences of the ignorance of mental health, as well Gilman’s underlying message of the restriction of women, in nineteenth century America. The author of this story doesn’t want readers to focus on the progression of the woman when realizing her real situation, but in my opinion, how Gilman comments with this piece of fiction to the real oppression of women, and lack of weight Medicine held on the patient 's opinions in Charlotte’s society.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, is a short story, published in the late 1800s, about one woman’s descent to madness. Finding herself plagued with postpartum depression after the birth of her son, the narrator’s ailment is overlooked by everyone around her. Her husband, “...a physician of high standing..” (Gilman) describes the narrator’s illness as “temporary nervous depression...a slight hysterical tendency.” Her brother and male doctor, also agree with this diagnosis and because so, the narrator is forced to go through a rather peculiar treatment plan that was commonly practiced on women who were considered hysterical during that time period. Considered a societal norm this treatment plan, created by the dominate male,
In a classic piece of feminist writing, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman depicts the mental deterioration of a woman diagnosed with hysteria and prescribed the rest cure, an infamously ineffective treatment for anxiety and depression pioneered by Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell at the turn of the nineteenth century. The story is framed as the narrator’s journal entries, which are infrequent and rushed because writing them violates the rest cure, thus making her writings a better representative of her descent into madness as well as her potent emotions regarding her confinement than had she written one for every day of her three month stay in the room with the repellant and titular yellow wallpaper. Gilman expresses the narrator’s societally mandated respect for her husband in addition to her resentment of the inferior treatment of women through her formal and impassioned tone and virulent imagery in reference to the setting in her 1892 short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper.”
“The Yellow Wallpaper” is about a woman driven insane by postpartum depression and a dangerous treatment. Nevertheless, when you study the protagonist, it shows that the story is more about finding the protagonist’s identity. The protagonist’s proposes of an imaginary woman, which at first, is just her shadow against the bars of the wallpaper. The pattern shows her identity, expressing the conflict that she experiences and eventually leads her to a complete breakdown of what is her identity and that of the imaginary shadow.
Madness is the state of being mentally ill. It is the spectrum of behavior characterized by abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. Madness manifests as the violation of societal norms, including becoming a personal danger to one’s self. As a woman in the male-dominated society of the 19th century, the narrator has no control over her own life. This lack of control contributes to her descent into madness. The rest cure prescribed by her physician husband provided the environment for her madness to flourish because it was only in her imagination where she retained some control and could exercise the power of her mind. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman centers on the deteriorating mental condition of the female narrator. Gilman’s demonstrates of the progression of her madness throughout the story is reflected in the narrator’s change in attitude toward her husband, her growing obsession with the wallpaper, and her projection of herself as the woman behind the wallpaper.