Dialogue, narration, and symbolism are being used by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s in her short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” to show that women with mental health problems are not taken serious. Throughout the story, readers are shown how the woman with postpartum depression is not treated properly for her condition and she is driven into madness. Gilman wants readers to realize this woman needed help but because she was not taken seriously, she ended up worse in the
It was her responsibility to relieve her stress and tell her story. This is a story of seclusion and escape. "The Yellow Wallpaper," being highly autobiographical for Charlotte Perkins Gilman, was written shortly after her own nervous breakdown. The story is part reality for her and part fiction focusing on the treatment that Dr. S. Weir Mitchell enforced upon her which was rest, seclusion, and absolutely no writing, which is what she loved the most. Her story is a stepping-stone in helping to understand depression, liberating women, and expression.
Every time she thinks about writing in the journal, she relates how tired it makes her. Throughout the story, John speaks out against her writing, because he feels that it contributes to her depression but she writes anyway, feeling that she is getting away with something. John treats her as if she were ill not depressed. John being a physician, not a psychologist, prescribes her medication that is for someone who is physically ill, not experiencing psychological distress. The journal becomes an outlet for her true feelings that she believes would get her incarcerated if anyone else heard them.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman vividly illustrates these human aspirations in The Yellow Wallpaper. Subsequently she paints a horrific picture of someone who fails in her quest. These elements of this short story render it to be, for any reader who has experienced these hungers, an intensely personal experience. The heroine of this tale knows that she is not well, and the fact that medical authorities contradict her self-diagnosis frustrates her. She concedes that her husband should be more knowledgeable than her about her condition.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s literary work “The Yellow Wallpaper” expresses a dominating relationship between a husband and a compliant wife and her gradual decent into insanity. The wife, suffering from postpartum depression, is secluded from societal influences in attempts to return her to a healthier state of mind. She is not allowed to write or think in her isolated room and over a course of three months becomes more dysfunctional as she is entrapped in what she describes as a former nursery. Her determination to go against her husband’s and physician’s restrictions ultimately makes her surrender into madness because it symbolizes her escape from oppression and resistance from the treatment she is subjected to. Critics may claim that the insanity that the wife suffers from was not the cause of her treatments but existed early in her childhood and that the room in which she occupies is in an insane asylum.
The two common threads that connect Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the narrator in her story are depression/postpartum depression, and entrapment within their roles as of women. Specifically, Gilman and the narrator are trying to escape the function society has placed on them. First, after fulfilling their expected duties as wife and mother, both Gilman and the narrator become depressed after the birth of their child. It is this depression that leads them to the infamous rest cure... ... middle of paper ... ...ness in the form of all "of those creeping women" trying to escape from the oldness that trapped them, acted as a premonition for changes in women’s rights movement (Gilman 89). For Gilman and her story "The Yellow Wallpaper" life is imitating art.
Every night she lies awake and looks at her cell of a room as her eyes roam around the wallpaper. At the beginning she hates the wallpaper but becomes infatuated with it as the woman continues to try to get out. “ ‘nobody could climb through that pattern it strangles so…strangles them off and turns them upside down, and makes their eyes white’… If this can be seen as a metaphor of women’s oppression and death in the limited domestic space” (Fanghui). The woman could end up feeling useless, “suffocated” (Fanghui), and so closed off and commit suicide. The restraints used against her could be her downfall.
She lived by these guidelines for three months until she came close to suffering from a nervous breakdown. Gilman then decided to continue writing, despite the physicians advice, and overcame her illness. By writing The Yellow Wallpaper, she attempted to save others who suffered from her illness. The story takes place in the late eighteen hundreds (published in 1892), a time when feminism was at a rise. Many connections can be made between the characteristics of this time period and images in the story.
There was never a women in the wallpaper it was herself unable to break free of her husband (Lane). Gilman was diagnosed as having nervous “prostration”. This disorder consists of very painful mental sensation, shame, fear, remorse, a blind oppressive confusion, utter weakness, a steady brain-ache that fills the conscious mind with crowding images of distress. Worst of all Gilman's starv... ... middle of paper ... ...paper, but in reality she was the one that did not want to be seen and that is why when she rips the wallpaper off it was her skin. There was no wallpaper, the wallpaper was the characters skin and her ripping her skin symbolized her finally breaking out from being controlled and not being able to have a say in anything.
The treatment to which t... ... middle of paper ... ...Mitchell, seems all the more plausible. After all, her socially-defined role as the dutiful wife and mother was being constrained by her inability to withstand the treatment foisted upon her by a man trained to disregard his patients' feelings. As a woman, she had no socially sanctioned way to respond to the problems she faced. Rather than wonder, as John does throughout the story, why his wife is becoming increasingly deranged, readers of this story should only wonder why, given the mores of the time period, there weren't far more stories like it. Works Cited Gilman, Charlotte Perkins.