Theme Of Madness In The Yellow Wallpaper

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Imagine enduring nine long months of discomfort endured for the sole reason of having a child of your own flesh and blood, only to feel disconnected from the baby, like the child in front of you is a total stranger. This is what the speaker in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” is experiencing, and similar to what Gilman herself experienced.In this short story, we follow a unnamed woman who has just had a child, but suffers from postpartum depression. Her husband, John , is a doctor who believes she suffers from “temporary nervous depression” and prescribes her the “resting cure.” This consists of being kept inside in almost total isolation. This isolation drives the narrator to a very dark place in her mind. She starts seeing a woman in a cage in the pattern of the wallpaper. Shortly before the narrator is due to depart the house, she decides that she has to free the trapped…show more content…
Gilman states,“I never saw so much expression in an inanimate thing before, and we all know how much expression they have! I used to lie awake as a child and get more entertainment and terror out of blank walls and plain furniture than most children could find in a toy-store”(Gilman 650). Due to the speaker’s “resting cure”, she begins losing her sanity. While reading"The Yellow Wallpaper," we see the narrator’s descent into madness through her eyes, as her mind grows more chaotic, and as she begins seeing shapes in the wallpaper. One analyst states,”this is the ultimate example of showing, not telling. We have to deduce from her frantic writing style that there isn’t actually a woman trapped in the wallpaper; the narrator just thinks there is because she’s losing her grip on reality” (Shmoop Editorial Team). The author is showing her descent into madness by slowly changing the writing style from simple diary entries to haphazard and frantic telling of what is going through her
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