The Yellow Wallpaper: The Story that Changed How Women and Mental Illness Were Viewed

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“The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is a story that surrounds many different topics. The narrator is living in a time period where women were looked down upon and mental illnesses were misunderstood. The narrator of the story suffers from post-partum depression and is recording her journey in a journal. Her husband, the typical man at the time, put her on “the rest cure,” as he believed that mental illnesses should be treated like physical illnesses. He brings her to a house far away from other people and makes her stay in the nursery. The nursery had shabby yellow wallpaper which sickened her, but intrigued her at the same time. The rest cure was basically confinement, both physically and mentally. She was deprived of any form of creativity, this included writing, which was one of the things that kept her sane. This “cure” eventually leads to the decrease of her mental stability as she becomes more and more obsessed with the wallpaper. In order to convey a story with so many themes lots of literary devices were used. In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses symbolism and characterization to explore themes about the lack of understanding of women and their mental health.
The narrator of the story, though unnamed, represents a stereotypical woman with mental illnesses in that day and age. “Many details, like the lack of a name, argue against her individuality,” (Ford 1). The story “The Yellow Wallpaper” is told through a woman’s journal and shows first-hand what the path to insanity feels like. It is written in first person to better expose the narrator’s thoughts and feelings. ““The Yellow Wallpaper” is an example of a first person narrative because it is told exclusively from the viewpoint of th...

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...e who suffer from mental illnesses by creating an intriguing story that showed the injustices and lack of understanding present in the 19th century.

Works Cited
Ford, Karen. "'The Yellow Wallpaper' and Women's Discourse." Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale Virtual Reference Library, 1985. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. New York: Bantom, 1989. Print.
Lanser, Susan S. "Feminist Criticism, 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and the Politics of Color in America." Gale Virtual Reference Library. N.p., 1989. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Quawas, Rula. "A New Womens Journey into Insanity: Decent and Return in 'The Yellow Wallpaper.'" Gale. N.p., 2010. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Wilson, Kathleen, ed. "The Yellow Wallpaper." Gale Virtual Reference Library. N.p., 1997. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. New York: Bantom, 1989. Print
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