Postpartum Psychosis In The Yellow Wallpaper

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There are various interpretations of what causes the narrator to go crazy in the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. These interpretations include suggestions that the narrator is possessed, that she is oppressed by society and is acting out, that she has suffered from a traumatic childbirth, and so on. While all of these ideas hold merit and are supported by evidence in the short story, there is an alternative explanation that fits the story just as well, if not better. That explanation is that the reason the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” acts strangely and sees images in the wallpaper of her room is that she is suffering from the disorder of postpartum psychosis. During this essay I will be going into depth on a psychological analysis of “The Yellow Wallpaper”.
Postpartum psychosis has a wide range of symptoms, all of which the narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper” exhibits. The disorder, which sets on up to several weeks after giving birth, “is characterized by symptoms of extreme agitation, confusion, exhilaration, and an inability to sleep or eat. It may be hard to maintain a coherent conversation with a woman who has postpartum psychosis. She may also experience delusions, hallucinations, and altered and impaired concept of reality, rapid mood swings, insomnia, and abnormal
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For example, at the end of the short story, when the narrator is really losing touch with reality, she threatens that “no person touches [the] paper but [her]—not alive!” (Gilman 433). Essentially, what the narrator is saying here is that she will kill anyone that lays hands on the wallpaper of her room. This is disturbing to the reader because the touching of wallpaper would ordinarily be an innocent act. However, the narrator is so far into her psychosis that she is willing to commit homicide if a person touches her
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