Mental Health And Reality In The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Gilman

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The comparison between the reality world and the imaginary world is a present in many of the stories we have read this semester, in particular Charlotte Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”. In the Gilman’s work, the reader sees a troubled woman who has an internal struggle, but projects it onto a hideous wallpaper. It is evident that the protagonist is suffering from some form of mental illness, but she also suffers from the lack of attention ended to help her condition. Throughout the story, the protagonist’s mental health continues to deteriorate until she can no longer distinguish reality from her imagination. Living in one’s own imagination can bring disastrous results to one’s actual reality, but imagination is not the true evil one. It is…show more content…
The protagonist explains that John does not really believe in her condition, and even though he claims to want to help her, he is never home. John is never home because he is working, “John is away all day, and even some nights when his cases are serious” (Gilman 794), this shows that John does not see his wife’s condition serious instead he, like many people in that time, viewed physical injuries more important than mental illnesses. John may be a loving husband but he does not help his wife’s condition, instead he actually worsens it. It is evident that the protagonist’s suffers from postpartum depression and John does not see the signs, to be fair it was not “discovered” until much later. Postpartum depression symptoms include: depressive moods after giving birth, reclusive behavior towards child, and…show more content…
The rest cure had worsen the protagonist’s depression, it actually developed into a severe case of psychosis. The psychosis impaired the protagonist’s view of reality and made her let out her condition onto this wallpaper. The wallpaper confused the protagonist with its pattern and distinct smell. The protagonist began to study it since she did not really have anything to do and wanted to crack the pattern. After spending countless hours studying the wallpaper, the protagonist finally discovers the woman behind it. This imaginary woman mesmerized the protagonist and caused her to believe the woman was trapped and wanted to be let out. On the last day of the three month stay at the house, the protagonist has finally given herself completely to her imaginary world. The protagonist starts to say some interesting lines like: “But I am here and no touches this paper but me—not alive!”, “I tried to lift and push it until I was lame, and then I got so angry I bit off a little piece at one corner—but it hurt my teeth”, and “I am getting angry enough to do something desperate. To jump out of the window would be admirable exercise…”(Gilman 802). All of these quotes show how far the protagonist is inside the imaginary world she created based on a yellow wallpaper. The protagonist is so far into this imaginary world that she would kill John’s sister and herself, and hurt herself for
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