She saw many women die of very preventable deaths due to child labor, and horrible methods of self-induced abortion. After seeing one woman die from a horrific attempt to give herself an abortion Sanger had decided that she had seen enough. It was too late for her to help these women when they came to her as a nurse. She felt she must attack the source of the problem, birth control. She stated, "I went to bed, knowing that no matter what it might cost, I was finished with palliatives and superficial cures; I was resolved to seek out the root of evil, to do s... ... middle of paper ... ...re apt to accept the concept of birth control, if not completely embracing the idea.
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 8th ed., vol. II. Ed. M. H. Abrams. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006.
Print. Oppenheimer, Judy. "Chapter 22." Private Demons: The Life of Shirley Jackson. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1988.
Gilman wrote this story to describe her experience with her own postpartum depression and the experiences with Dr. Mitchell. In 1886, Dr. Mitchell was "the nation's foremost specialist in the women's `nervous disorders'" (Seymor-Smith 979). After the birth of her daughter, Katherine Beecher Stetson, Gilman was weighed down with an upsetting depression. Gilman started treatment with Dr. Mitchell (979). "The Yellow Wallpaper" was written to criticize Dr. Mitchell's cure for women's depression.
The Oppression of Women and The Yellow Wallpaper The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a fictionalized autobiographical account that illustrates the emotional and intellectual deterioration of the female narrator who is also a wife and mother. The woman, who seemingly is suffering from post-partum depression, searches for some sort of peace in her male dominated world. She is given a “rest cure” from her husband/neurologist doctor that requires strict bed rest and an imposed reprieve form any mental stimulation. As a result of her husband’s controlling edicts, the woman develops an obsessive attachment to the intricate details of the wallpaper on her bedroom wall. The woman’s increasingly intense obsession with the wallpaper ultimately leaves the reader with many questions about nineteenth-century male-female relationships, and perhaps even insanity.
While these attitudes, and the actions taken by the two doctors, seem to have certainly contributed to her breakdown, it seems that there is an underlying rebellious spirit in her. The narrator, speaking out against her husband states, “He says no one but myself can help me out of it, that I must use my will and self-control and not let any silly fancies run away with me.” This demonstrates how John is not treating his wife for anything. He simply doesn’t believe there is a problem. This is one of her major motivations for keeping a journal; she thinks it helps her because she is afraid to speak out against her husband. Every time she thinks about writing in the journal, she relates how tired it makes her.
Desperately trying to express her feelings to John, she says “I told him that I really was not gaining here and that I wish he would take me away”(Gilman 46), but “I stopped short; for he sat up straight and looked at me with such a stern reproachful look that I could not say another word.” Instead the narrator “keeps quiet.” She settles into quiet submission: I “am much more quiet than I was. John is so pleased” (Gilman 48). She is “afraid” to “irritate” John or “to make him uncomfortable” (Gilman42). She makes herself believe that as a “physician” he knows what’s best for her and, therefore, acts passively, letting John control her even though she gets “unreasonably angry with” him (Gilman40). Writing in her journal is the only thing that keeps her sane; yet John takes that away from her: “I must put this away-he hates to have me write” (Gilman 41).
This quote shows the woman’s inconsistency with reality as she does not recognize that her husband had brought her to an asylum in order to “cure” her illness. Her husband explicitly explains to the woman that the place he is taking her only has “one window and not room for two beds” further displaying how he will isolate her from society and the family. Her unwillingness to realize her husbands intentions, displays her blindness to her own repression in her marriage. In addition, the woman explains how much she enjoys writing in order to explain her own thoughts and feelings because she is not allowed to say them out loud. She goes on to say that her husband,” hates to have [her] write a word” and hurriedly tries to hide away her notebook (Gilman ___).
Without anything to do, especially her writing, Gilman saw this as being held back from becoming her true self. "John is a physician, and perhaps ...perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster." (p801) She had to be sneaky about writing or else John would find out. "-having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition." (p801) Because of this "prison" that she was in, Gilman started to see images in the yellow wall-paper that she stared at day-in and day-out.