The Yellow Wallpaper: A Comparison Of Depression

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Depression is an illness often misunderstood by the individual and their family. One symptom of depression is isolation and in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Doris Lessing’s short story, “To Room Nineteen” the protagonists feel trapped and unfulfilled in their ordinary lives causing them to become depressed. The emotional and physical battle both these characters undergo reveal many striking similarities, despite the origin and breaking points of their provoking thoughts and actions. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Doris Lessing’s short story “To Room Nineteen,” both protagonists experience isolation from the world and people around them. Susan, the protagonist in…show more content…
Everyone assumes Susan and her husband, Matthew, are the perfect couple who have made all the right choices in life but when Susan packs her youngest children off too school and discovers that her husband has been having etramartial affairs, she begins to question the life decisions she has made. Susan embarks on a journey of self-discovery that ultimately becomes a descend into madness. Susan chooses to isolate herself from her own family. Unlike Susan, the woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” initially wants contact and interaction with people but is denied it by her husband. The woman thinks she would be better off being a part of the community, interacting with others. She tries telling her husband, John, that she feels something isn 't right saying, "You see, he does not believe I am sick!" (597). She wants social connection, not isolation and believes that "congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good" (598) and "less opposition and more society and stimulus" (598). He tells her the only reason they are there is for her sake and he "says if I…show more content…
Except, her room, in contrast to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story, represents personal freedom. Susan on the other hand chooses to downgrade and stays at a hotel that is well below her standard of living. Room 19 is described as “hideous. It had a single window, with thin green brocade curtains, a three-quarter bed that had a cheap green satin bed spread on it.” (Lessing 883) Although the room may be repulsive, Susan finds comfort in it. Even though it appears that Susan may have what many people are striving for in life, it is clearly not enough to make her

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