After she was diagnosed with depression and has to stop her daily routine, the narrator represents her as the women trapped behind the wallpaper. In the article Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” A Surrealistic Portrayal of a Woman’s Arrested Development says that after her depression in 1890, she “transferred her own life experience into a poignant account of a woman’s decline into madness” (Hall 4). Gilman wanted to share her vivid experience with other women. In The Yellow Wallpaper says “the woman behind it is as plain as can be”(Gilman). This particular abstract of the story shows that the narrator reflects the woman as “plain” which mean as simple as she could
She is looked after by her sister-in-law, Jeannie, and after being confined and not allowed to do anything productive, her sanity breaks. This story illustrates the harmful mental effects of centuries of women being socially confined and oppressed. “The Yellow Wallpaper” cleverly disguises the perpetual persecution of women as the pattern on the wallpaper and the female gender as the women behind it. Jane is the only person who can see the woman. This symbolizes Jane’s awareness to gender
In today’s society, where the mental health of women is considered, it is a tendency for individuals to assume that a woman’s health is directly linked to her social role and marriage. Hearing often that more women are diagnosed with a mental illness, it is easy to assume it’s just genetic gender differences. For women, mental health goes farther than their “hormonal emotions”. This stigma leads to them being reluctant to seek professional help, their cries for help being ignored, and causing them to be more likely to conform to social norms. Like the women in Trifles, The Yellow Wallpaper, and the narrator in “Much madness Divinest Sense”, female oppression causes women to be diagnosed with mental health issues and to conform to society's perception of them.
We can see this event has occurred in The Yellow Wallpaper in the line ‘it is fortunate Mary is so good with the baby’ (page 6) this tells us her baby has been taken away from her for someone else to look after and we can presume this is due to her mental state. Another short story this happens in is The Giant Wistaria however as this is also by Gilman some critics may argue that this is just her subjective view against the treatment of women. Another cultural stereotype of women at the time was that any mental illness they developed was deemed ‘female hysteria’ examples of this in the text are ‘there is really nothing a matter with one but temporary nervous depression - a slight hysterical tendency’ (page 3) and ‘John says if I don’t pick up fast he shall send me to Weir Mitchell [an American physician] in the fall’ (page 8). Weir Mitchell was Gilman‘s doctor and when she developed a mental health problem he provided her with the rest cure and told her to ‘live as domestic as life as possible’ (Appendix B). This allows the reader to make a clear link from the short story to cultural stereotypes at the
The “woman” behind the wallpaper is a symbol of women being trapped by mental health. The narrator even says she is the woman who is trapped behind the wallpaper. The woman the describes the wallpaper as a prison, she says, “…worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars!” (Gilman 426). Gilman is trying to show readers that women have no say in what happens to them when they have mental health problems. The narrator says “Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good.” she knows what she needs but no will believe her.
She then begins to creep around the room, rubbing against t... ... middle of paper ... ...aper” was probably a shock for many people of this time period. Society viewed women who wanted to express their ideas of a culture in which women had rights, as hysterical. Gilman was even treated by a physician because she had become depressed by her lack of opportunities in society. Women were thrown into a state of depression because they thought their lives were lacking an important aspect. Gilman was able to express her thoughts and emotions, and in doing so, she made great strives to bring to light the oppressions that women were facing during this time.
It is a criticism of a medical practice that was created solely for women, which is one reason for it being considered a feminist story. She was thought to be delicate and predisposed to emotional outbreaks. The story explains that the bed rest and the views that supplement such a practice, is what makes women hysterical. Gilman’s narration advocates the slow development into insanity and growing frustration that accompanies it. With each entry the woman writes, it was apparent as to how her mental pain she endured was taking over her mind and behavior as the days passed.
Repression of Women Exposed in The Yellow Wallpaper The short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman gives a brilliant description of the plight of the Victorian woman, and the mental agony that her and many other women were put through as "treatment" for depression when they found that they were not satisfied by the life they had been given. In the late nineteenth century when the Yellow Wallpaper was written, the role of wife and mother, which women were expected to adopt, often led to depression or a so-called "hysteria". Women of this period were living in a patriarchal society where they were expected to be demure and passive, supportive yet unquestioning of their husbands, and good mothers to their husband's children. The conflict for women in the society thus became a question of how to be all of these things while still conserving herself as a person and most importantly, conserving her sanity (Wagner-Martin 51). In this Victorian society "the boredom and confinement of affluent women fostered a morbid cult of hypochondria - 'female invalidism'"- where it became popular and even appropriate for women to fall into bed at the slightest provocation with a "sick headache" or "nerves" (Ehrenreich 92-93).
Wiedemann, Barbara. "The Yellow Wallpaper." Short Fiction: A Critical Companion (1997): 64-72. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web.