Imprisonment of Women Exposed in The Yellow Wallpaper When asked the question of why she chose to write 'The Yellow Wallpaper', Charlotte Perkins Gilman claimed that experiences in her own life dealing with a nervous condition, then termed 'melancholia', had prompted her to write the short story as a means to try and save other people from a similar fate. Although she may have suffered from a similar condition to the narrator of her illuminating short story, Gilman's story cannot be coined merely a tale of insanity. Insanity is the vehicle for Gilman's larger comment on the atrocities of social conformity. The main character of "The Yellow Wallpaper" comes to recognize the inhumanity in society's treatment of women, and in her awakening to this, visualizes her torment in the faded yellow wallpaper that hangs in her chambers, her jail. The unnamed narrator of the tale is purposefully left unnamed; the narrator could be any wife, any mother, any woman.
Eberwein, Jane Donahue. Dickinson: Strategies of Limitation. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1985. Feit Diehl, Joanne. “’Ransom in a Voice’: Language as Defense in Dickinson’s Poetry.” Feminist Critics Read Emily Dickinson.
If a woman were sterile, her purposefulness diminished. While the Cult of Domesticity intended to create obliging and competent wives, women frequently reported feeling trapped or imprisoned within the home and within societal expectations put forward by husbands, fathers, and brothers. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s tantalizing short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” tells the horrifying tale of a nineteenth century woman whose husband condemns her to a rest cure, a popular approach during the era to treat post-partum depression. Although John, the unnamed narrator’s husband, does not truly believe his wife is ill, he ultimately condemns her to mental insanity through his treatment. The story somewhat resembles Gilman’s shocking personal biography, namely the rest cure she underwent under the watchful eye of Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell in 1887, two years after the birth of her daughter, Katherine.
The Yellow Wallpaper. New York: Feminist Press, 1973. Golden, Catherine, ed. The Captive Imagination: A Casebook on "The Yellow Wallpaper." New York: Feminist Press, 1992.
"Escaping the Sentence: Diagnosis and Discourse in "The Yellow Wallpaper"." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, 1984: 61-77.
During the late nineteenth century, the time of protagonist Edna Pontellier, a woman's place in society was confined to worshipping her children and submitting to her husband. Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening, encompasses the frustrations and the triumphs in a woman's life as she attempts to cope with these strict cultural demands. Defying the stereotype of a "mother-woman," Edna battles the pressures of 1899 that command her to be a subdued and devoted housewife. Although Edna's ultimate suicide is a waste of her struggles against an oppressive society, The Awakening supports and encourages feminism as a way for women to obtain sexual freedom, financial independence, and individual identity. Feminism is commonly thought of as a tool for educating society on the rights of women.
2nd ed. New Haven: Yale UP. 2000. Treichler, Paula A. “Escaping the Sentence: Diagnosis and Discourse in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’” Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 3.
---, Envy and Gratitude (London: Virago, 1988b). Plath, Sylvia, Letters Home: Correspondence 1950-1963, ed. by Aurelia Schober Plath (London: Faber, 1976). ---, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams and Other Prose Writings (London: Faber, 1979). ---, Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath, ed.
New York : Signet Classics, 1982. Secondary Sources Arora, Neena. Nayantara Sahgal and Doris Lessing : A Feminist Study in Comparism. New Delhi : Prestige Books, 1991. Krishnaswamy, Shantha.