The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Her Psychology of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Since its publication in New England Magazine in 1891, The Yellow Wallpaper has been one of the most contested and most analyzed pieces of literature. Literary critics have looked at the piece from many different perspectives including feminist and anti-feminist perspectives, psychological perspectives, and even perspectives looking at The Yellow Wallpaper as a science- fiction piece. Many analysts have even claimed that the work’s narrator is a direct reflection of
Charlotte Perkins Gilman and her political view on psychology of the time. However, most frequently, there have been two major critical psychological perspectives: psychology from a literary perspective, which tends to blame the illness of the narrator on the patriarchy of society; and psychology from a physician’s perspective, which looks at legitimate medical causes for the depression that the narrator suffers from. What these analyses of The Yellow Wallpaper lack is a balance that accepts both social and biological causes for the narrator’s insanity.
In order to better one’s understanding of The Yellow Wallpaper , one must first understand the life of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born in Hartford,
Connecticut in 1860. Gilman’s father left her mother shortly after Charlotte was born. Gilman was related to some of the most influential women of the time including Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin . Charlotte attended Rhode Island School of Design for a time before moving on to work as a commercial artist and a teacher. She married a fellow artist named Charles Stetson in 1884 and they had a daughter the following year. She fell into a deep depression afte...

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