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Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

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For decades now critics have viewed, Gilman’s novella, “The Yellow Wallpaper” mainly in a feminist way, focusing on the way women acted and how they were treated in the 1800s. Although there are good points to the feminist criticism, one could go more in depth by psychoanalyzing it because feminism fit more into the 1800s when women did not have the roles they have today, by looking at the psychoanalytic effect the restrictions had on her, and observing the effects the room had on her.
The Yellow Wallpaper” was written around the time period when women’s main role, “was as wife and mother, keeper of the household, guardian of the moral purity of all who lived therein” (Hartman). Women were told what to do by their husbands and their thoughts were not so important in the 1800s. Women were sort of in an “imprisonment” controlled by all men. In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Jane, the main character, is a woman suffering from postpartum. Jane’s husband is a Physician who thinks there is nothing wrong with her and because of the time period Jane could not get through to her husband that there really was something wrong with her. “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage” (Gilman). John was putting a mental strain on Jane by isolating her and thinking that there is nothing wrong with her. Although feminism fit almost perfectly for Gilman’s story, it does not complete the modern day criticism of, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Today, women have a bigger role in life as a whole. Women have high paid jobs, work on farms, have their husbands’ cook for the family, and lead other men. The women who have never known about the way women were once treated in the past may not view Gilman’s novella in a feminist way. If the...

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...nnot. Jane is really no freer at the end of the story than at the beginning. In fact, we can assume that her intensified mental illness will only lead her to suffer even more at the hands of the same patriarchal establishment whose (mis)diagnosis defined her mental illness in the first place (Treichler 67). Her role in bringing to light the fact that social oppression helped to both create and sustain what could have been a less tragic illness is an accomplishment that, after all, only the reader, and not Jane, can appreciate. Therefore, this is how “The Yellow Wallpaper” can be further criticized through psychosis and not just feminism.

Works Cited

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” An Introduction to Literature. ED Sylvan
Barnet. Longman: Boston, 2011. Print.
"The Yellow Wallpaper" Feminist Criticism." Teen Ink. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2014.
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