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Postpartum Depression in "The Yellow Wallpaper"

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Jane's Postpartum Depression in "The Yellow Wallpaper"

In the "The Yellow Wallpaper," Charlotte Perkins Gilman describes her postpartum depression through the character of Jane. Jane was locked up for bed rest and was not able to go outside to help alleviate her nervous condition. Jane develops an attachment to the wallpaper and discovers a woman in the wallpaper. This shows that her physical treatment is only leading her to madness. The background of postpartum depression can be summarized by the symptoms of postpartum depression, the current treatment, and its prevention. Many people ask themselves what happens if postpartum depression gets really bad or what increases their chances. Jane's treatment can show what can happen if it is not treated correctly. If Jane would have had different treatment, then she would not have gone insane.

Gilman wrote this story to describe her experience with her own postpartum depression and the experiences with Dr. Mitchell. In 1886, Dr. Mitchell was "the nation's foremost specialist in the women's `nervous disorders'" (Seymor-Smith 979). After the birth of her daughter, Katherine Beecher Stetson, Gilman was weighed down with an upsetting depression. Gilman started treatment with Dr. Mitchell (979). "The Yellow Wallpaper" was written to criticize Dr. Mitchell's cure for women's depression. After

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Gilman wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper," she submitted her essay to Dr. Mitchell. He changed his treatment after reading the story (footnote in Gilman 431). "The Yellow

Wallpaper" was inspired by Gilman's own experiences with the depression (Seymor-Smith 979).

Knowing the symptoms of postpartum depression is critical for a young mother's discovering that she may have the depress...


... middle of paper ...


...s like not being able to write or going outside. There are known factors that add to the risk of having long-term depression. They are having poor support from close ones, additional stress, and a first time pregnancy (Healthwise- What Increases Your Risks). These known factors contribute to Jane's depression especially with the attachment with the wallpaper.

Jane's treatment leads her to insanity. When this story was written, there was neither the medicine nor the treatment methods that we have today. If Jane was in today's

time, then she possibly would not have gotten as bad as she did. Readers may become sympathetic for Jane because they know that there is more help today than there was

then. "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a compassionate story about a new mother that goes through postpartum depression, and the results of not having it treated correctly.



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