Feminist Perspective on Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Yellow Wallpaper, Written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is comprised as an assortment of journal entries written in first person, by a woman who has been confined to a room by her physician husband who he believes suffers a temporary nervous depression, when she is actually suffering from postpartum depression. He prescribes her a “rest cure”. The woman remains anonymous throughout the story. She becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper that surrounds her in the room, and engages in some outrageous imaginations towards the wallpaper. Gilman’s story depicts women’s struggle of independence and individuality at the rise of feminism, as well as a reflection of her own life and experiences.

During that time, Mental illness and depression was not generally understood. Outspoken women were diagnosed with "hysteria" and put on bed rest. The woman gradually goes insane when she is put on bed rest for all hours of everyday. It is a criticism of a medical practice that was created solely for women, which is one reason for it being considered a feminist story. She was thought to be delicate and predisposed to emotional outbreaks. The story explains that the bed rest and the views that supplement such a practice, is what makes women hysterical.

Gilman’s narration advocates the slow development into insanity and growing frustration that accompanies it. With each entry the woman writes, it was apparent as to how her mental pain she endured was taking over her mind and behavior as the days passed. “This wallpaper has a kind of sub-pattern in a different shade, a particularly irritating one, for you can only see it in certain lights, and not clearly then. But in the places where it isn’t faded and where the sun is just so—I can see a stra...

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