The Yellow Wallpaper

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“The Yellow Wallpaper”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, in the 1860s, by

her mother. Charlotte Perkins married a artist, and shortly afterwards gave birth to her

daughter. After the birth of her child, Charlotte was diagnosed with an nervous condition.

Charlotte then committed herself under the care of Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, after the constant

urging of her husband. The care from Dr. Mitchell, and her husband consisted of isolation and

total rest. It was not long before Charlotte was driven to insanity due to these reprimands

encourage by both her husband, and the doctor. Shortly after she fled the care of her husband and

Dr. Mitchell, she moved to California, and began a career as a lecturer and writer on feminist

topics(Gilman782).

In 1892, Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote the most significant, and image-like story of her

life, known as “The Yellow Wallpaper”. Gilman uses an unnamed narrator of the story. The

unnamed narrator is purposely left unnamed; the narrator could be any woman, wife, and

mother. Gilman paints a vivid picture of a woman who is demeaned, deprived and mad.

Gilman does not leave her readers with an over- powerful image of the woman. Gilman

only conveys the image of a woman creeping around her room, who is suffering from anxiety

and madness.

The woman is under the care of her husband, who is an physician. He locks her in an

nursery in hopes that the confinement and rest will help aid her troubling nervous condition. The

woman seems to be losing her grasp and control over her own life, primarily because she is

under the care of her husband.

As the narrator opens the story, the first striking image that the readers are presented with

is the character John. The husband of the narrator, John, is described as “practical and extreme”.

(Gilman,782). John refuses to accept his wife’s condition; he does not believe that

there is anything truly wrong with her. The narrative states these comments about her husband.

“You see he does not believe I am sick”! “If a physician of high standing, and one’s own

husband assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one, but

temporary nervous depression, a slight hysterical tendency, what is one to do?”(783).

The narrator submits to the will of her husband. She gives into his ideas regarding what

is good for her and her nervous condition.

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