“The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is a story that surrounds many different topics. The narrator is living in a time period where women were looked down upon and mental illnesses were misunderstood. The narrator of the story suffers from post-partum depression and is recording her journey in a journal. Her husband, the typical man at the time, put her on “the rest cure,” as he believed that mental illnesses should be treated like physical illnesses. He brings her to a house far away from other people and makes her stay in the nursery.
“O’Connor, (Mary) Flannery.” FactCite: Lincoln Library Biographies Online. Lincoln Lib. P, 2012. Web 3 Dec 2013. Boswell, Marshall, and Carol Rollyson, eds.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Gilman illustrates the seclusion and oppression of women in the nineteenth century society by connecting the female imprisonment, social and mental state, and isolation to the objects in and around the room. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is written in the first person narrative of a women's secret journal and her descent into madness. With the medical community of the nineteenth century misunderstanding and mistreating women, despite the protests of women. The treatment that John, the narrator’s husband, offers does not help at all, in fact throughout the story the narrator’s journal entrees and condition progressively worsens. Spending the summer in an abandoned mansion in order to recover from what her physician husband believes is a “temporary nervous depression- a slight hysterical tendency” (648).
The Yellow Wallpaper is about the external conflict between an unnamed woman, trying to break free of her submissive role and find her voice in life, and her domineering husband who ... ... middle of paper ... ...eference to the characters apparent role in society and at home being beneath her husband. By acknowledging this she is once again voicing her opposition to the oppression of her officious husband. At the end of the story John faints in the path of his wife and she proceeds to “creep” over him (530). Symbolically the repressed wife has finally brought her husband down and has triumphed over him. Charlotte Perkins Gilman writes a haunting tale of lost identity and the struggle to break free of oppression and find a voice to be heard.
If a woman were sterile, her purposefulness diminished. While the Cult of Domesticity intended to create obliging and competent wives, women frequently reported feeling trapped or imprisoned within the home and within societal expectations put forward by husbands, fathers, and brothers. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s tantalizing short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” tells the horrifying tale of a nineteenth century woman whose husband condemns her to a rest cure, a popular approach during the era to treat post-partum depression. Although John, the unnamed narrator’s husband, does not truly believe his wife is ill, he ultimately condemns her to mental insanity through his treatment. The story somewhat resembles Gilman’s shocking personal biography, namely the rest cure she underwent under the watchful eye of Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell in 1887, two years after the birth of her daughter, Katherine.
Repression of Women Exposed in The Yellow Wallpaper The short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman gives a brilliant description of the plight of the Victorian woman, and the mental agony that her and many other women were put through as "treatment" for depression when they found that they were not satisfied by the life they had been given. In the late nineteenth century when the Yellow Wallpaper was written, the role of wife and mother, which women were expected to adopt, often led to depression or a so-called "hysteria". Women of this period were living in a patriarchal society where they were expected to be demure and passive, supportive yet unquestioning of their husbands, and good mothers to their husband's children. The conflict for women in the society thus became a question of how to be all of these things while still conserving herself as a person and most importantly, conserving her sanity (Wagner-Martin 51). In this Victorian society "the boredom and confinement of affluent women fostered a morbid cult of hypochondria - 'female invalidism'"- where it became popular and even appropriate for women to fall into bed at the slightest provocation with a "sick headache" or "nerves" (Ehrenreich 92-93).
"The Waste Land" in The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Edition, Volume 2. General Ed. M.H. Abrams. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1993.
During the late nineteenth century, the time of protagonist Edna Pontellier, a woman's place in society was confined to worshipping her children and submitting to her husband. Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, encompasses the frustrations and the triumphs in a woman's life as she attempts to cope with these strict cultural demands. Defying the stereotype of a "mother-woman," Edna battles the pressures of 1899 that command her to be a subdued and devoted housewife. Although Edna's ultimate suicide is a waste of her struggles against an oppressive society, The Awakening supports and encourages feminism as a way for women to obtain sexual freedom, financial independence, and individual identity. Feminism is commonly thought of as a tool for educating society on the rights of women.