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Attitudes Towards Women In The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is regarded as one of the most important early work of American feminism. This short story illustrates the attitude toward women in regards to their health, both physically and mentally, in the 1800’s. The story opens with the narrator and her husband John, a physician, as well as their child, in a mansion by the lake that they have rented for the summer. Since it is written in the form of a collection of journal entries, though the use of first person story-telling, pretty early on the mental state of the unnamed narrator is abundantly clear. She is diagnosed with a "temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency", a common issue for women of that time. However, she does not feel…show more content…
At this point in the story, the narrator now feels unsafe outside of the room and tells John she refuses to leave when the summer rental is up. The mental state of the woman is in serious question as she now locks herself in the room, saying "for outside you have to creep on the ground, and everything is green instead of yellow. But here I can creep smoothly on the floor, and my shoulder just fits in that long smooch around the wall, so I cannot lose my way." Her sanity is now in an extremely fragile state as she comes to believe that she too is trapped inside the yellow walls. The yellow wallpaper represents many things. First, her relationship with John and her role within her household. She pictures herself among the women trapped by bars trying to escape the wallpaper, because she is trying to escape her husband. As she looks further into the wallpaper, she is really examining her own life and begins to change her mind about John and what she wants out of life. This piece is regarded as the first feminist piece, because much like the narrator in the story, Gilman is trying to peel back the wallpaper of expectations for women and reveal their true…show more content…
Charlotte Perkins Gilman herself was tired of the limitations and constraints of being a wife, so after her own experience with postpartum depression she decided to write about her own experience. Much like the narrator, Gilman felt she had no existence beyond the home. She also revealed for the first time that the family life could never satisfy a women unless she too was able to grow alongside the family individually. The yellow wallpaper within the narrators confined room represents her waning emotional state. The mental health of the woman is quite literally out the window at this point in the story. Much like the sanity of the woman, the wallpaper is historically representative of women in the nineteenth

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