Feminism In The Yellow Wallpaper

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“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was originally read and interpreted as a horror story but from the authors perspective, it was an accurate representation of the troubles most women of her time period went through. It's also considered the The text is most commonly viewed from a feminist and a psychoanalytical perspective which brings to light the apparent symbolism within the story as well as digging beneath the wallpaper and understanding the purpose behind the story.
The Yellow Wallpaper” is a story about a nineteenth-century white, middle-class woman, but it addresses “woman's” situation in so far as women as a group must still contend with male power in medicine, marriage, and indeed most, if not all, of culture.” (Hedges, 231) During the late 19th century when “The Yellow Wallpaper” was written, society was run predominately by men. Men set the standards for women with their ideals of “True Womanhood”, expecting the women in their lives to express such virtues as purity, piety, domesticity and submissiveness. Of course, strong-willed and independently thinking women like Gilman seemed to be ahead of her time and realized most medicine practices like the rest cure were mainly a way to make sure that the woman remained submissive to her husband. She portrayed this idea through the narrator and protagonist figure of “The Yellow Wallpaper”.
“Gilman projects mental derangement onto a familiar literary figure, a middle class wife and mother. She places the source of madness in the sacrosanct sphere for dutiful women-the home. ” (Golden) By placing the narrator in a familiar setting and in a familiar scenario to most women at the time, Gilman conveys to her audience the reality of the situation of the potent...

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...from any forms of strenuous physical activity, prolonged socialization and any kind of creative outlet like writing in the case of “The Yellow Wallpaper”'s narrator. Instead, they were encouraged to rest over a period of time with the idea that the bed rest and isolation would cure them.
Our narrators husband, John, was a medical professional who prescribed the narrator with a rest cure to treat what we now know as post-partum depression.
“For many years I suffered from a severe and continuous nervous breakdown tending to melancholia--and beyond...I went, in devout faith and some faint stir of hope, to a noted specialist in nervous diseases... This wise man put me to bed and applied the rest cure, to which he concluded there was nothing much the matter with me, and sent me home with solemn advice to "live as domestic a life as far as possible,"...” (Gilman)
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