"The Yellow Wallpaper", by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Yellow Brick Road to Insanity

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The story, "The Yellow Wallpaper", by Charlotte Perkins Gilman reflects society's attitude and treatment of mental health issues in the late 1800s. As the story begins, the narrator chronicles her mental health deterioration after the birth of her baby. Her writings reflect her husband’s attitude about her condition, which represents society’s ignorance of women’s medical issues. As the story progresses, the wallpaper itself becomes personified as a prison warden, who oppresses her freedom. As the narrator peels away the wallpaper, Gilman uses setting and imagery to draw readers into the narrator’s world of confusion, anxiety, and depression to share her experience with what we now know to be post-partum depression (PPD). A woman’s body is an incredible creation, designed by God to nurture and bring forth new life. The outward changes and evolution of pregnancy are obvious and amazing. The neurological and hormonal changes are invisible but no less significant. This story focuses on the invisible elements of child birth and points to how society has misunderstood and mislabeled PPD as a psychological disorder. By definition PPD is “moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth” (Board 1). Throughout the story, the woman shows many signs of this psychological disorder, but due to the era she is living in, research has not been established that she is suffering from an actual medical condition. The reader starts to acquire clues such as the woman’s

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