The Yellow Wall Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1374 Words6 Pages
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story The Yellow Wall-paper was written during a time of great controversy and change. In the early/mid-nineteenth century, domestic ideology: related ideas that consider the family home as the particular domain of the woman idealizing that the woman in the home, were naturally weaker (both physically and intellectually) and less capable of taking care of themselves in the rough and harsh public sphere; positions American middle class women as the spiritual and moral leaders of their home. Such separate spheres suggested that a woman's place was only in the private area of the home, where she should carry out her roles as wife and mother. Men, on the other hand, were thought to rule the public domain through work, politics, and economics. This mode of thought caused Gilman to aspire to influence and change the era’s ideology through The Yellow Wall-paper. The Yellow Wall-paper was a direct reflection of how Gilman’s life was and how she felt after she was diagnosed. As Gilman wrote, “I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes. I’m sure I never used to be so sensitive. I think it is due to this nervous condition”. It shows how Gilman felt about her husband, Charles Stetson, when he didn’t understand what she was going through. Like John in the short story, Stetson numerously told his wife to take things easy and not work so hard, “Her husband and mother were convinced that Gilman needed rest and willpower to overcome her depression”. They could not understand how depression affected her or what made her feel better or worse. The major problem she encountered over and over was getting anyone to understand her. In The Yellow Wall-paper, “John does not know how much I really suffer. He knows there is no r... ... middle of paper ... ...s for someone to live with it or even be around it. It affects everyone. Her story directly relates to her life, and how she felt trapped within her own mind through it all. Whether she tried reaching for help or following her prescription, it all failed. She was ahead of her time knowing that these prescribed techniques weren’t working at all. Gilman merely wrote The Yellow Wall-paper in hopes of saving others from what she went through, and convince her doctors that they were wrong and to stop recommending the rest cure. Gilman succeeded in changing the mode of thought in her time era; her own doctor even altered his treatment for neurasthenia after reading her story. Works Cited Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wall-paper." The Language of Literature. American Literature. By Arthur N. Applebee. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell, 2006. 766-78. Print.
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