The Yellow Wallpaper. New York: Feminist Press, 1973. ------. The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: An Autobiography. New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1935.
She fancies she sees a woman trapped behind the pattern in the paper. The story reaches its climax when her husband must force his way into the bedroom, only to find... ... middle of paper ... ...woman being driven mad by her position in life. The wallpaper merely serves as a catalyst for her breakdown. This interpretive discrepancy, as well as the loss of authenticity and finally the weakening of John’s power, ultimately leaves the two versions of “The Yellow Wallpaper” open to varying interpretations. Works Cited Gilman, Charlotte Perkins.
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.
Repression of Women Exposed in The Yellow Wallpaper The short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman gives a brilliant description of the plight of the Victorian woman, and the mental agony that her and many other women were put through as "treatment" for depression when they found that they were not satisfied by the life they had been given. In the late nineteenth century when the Yellow Wallpaper was written, the role of wife and mother, which women were expected to adopt, often led to depression or a so-called "hysteria". Women of this period were living in a patriarchal society where they were expected to be demure and passive, supportive yet unquestioning of their husbands, and good mothers to their husband's children. The conflict for women in the society thus became a question of how to be all of these things while still conserving herself as a person and most importantly, conserving her sanity (Wagner-Martin 51). In this Victorian society "the boredom and confinement of affluent women fostered a morbid cult of hypochondria - 'female invalidism'"- where it became popular and even appropriate for women to fall into bed at the slightest provocation with a "sick headache" or "nerves" (Ehrenreich 92-93).
462-473. Print. Showalter, Elaine. “On ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’.” The Story and Its Writer. Ann Charters.
However, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is more than a story with a fictional character; it is the story of its creator. Gilman, as well as her heroine, suffered through postpartum depression. She not only had to fight the depression and isolation of being a mother but also the social mores of the time which did not condone career-minded mothers. Society's prime guardians of the status quo in this instance were the medical doctors who found it necessary to treat women who were less than happy in their domestic roles. In her case, the treatment was administered by Dr. S. Weir Mitchell for whom Gilman stated she wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper" (The Living of CPG 121).
Print. Golden, Catherine. "The Yellow Wall-Paper" and Joseph Henry Hatfield 's Original Magazine Illustrations." ANQ 18.2 (2005): 53-63. Web.