Critical Analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins

Critical Analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins

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Critical Analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins

Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a detailed account of the author’s battle with depression and mental illness. Gilman’s state of mental illness and delusion is portrayed in this narrative essay. Through her account of this debilitating illness, the reader is able to relate her behavior and thoughts to that of an insane patient in an asylum. She exhibits the same type of thought processes and behaviors that are characteristic of this kind of person. In addition, she is constantly treated by those surrounding her as if she were actually in some form of mental hospital.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s state of depression began after she gave birth to her one and only daughter. She was diagnosed and given a prescription of “rest” in order to cure her disease (Kennedy 469). Gilman was taken away to a secluded home by her husband in order to obtain such “rest”. However, as it becomes evident to the reader, this “rest” actually plays a role in furthering Gilman’s mental state. The reader watches as Gilman’s condition worsens as a result of this treatment. It is through her writing and documenting that the reader is able to relate her to a mentally insane being (Kennedy 469).

As is evident to the reader, Gilman is suffering from some sort of mental disorder and/or illness. As is defined by one doctor, disease of the mind is “any medically recognized disorder that may render a defendant incapable of understanding the nature and quality of his or her actions or knowing that those actions were wrong”(Rogers 221). It is obvious through her actions and thoughts that Gilman does suffer from a disease of...


... middle of paper ...


...t she does in fact resemble an institutionalized human being. Gilman obviously does not know how to make mature judgments for herself. She is not in a stable frame of mind, and thus portrays someone in an insane asylum.

Works Cited

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Literature: an Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. X. J. Kennedy. New York: Longman, 1999. 469-481.

Goldberg, Richard, M.D. Diagnosing Disorders of Mood, Thought and Behavior. Medical Examination Publishing: New York, 1981.

Kosson, David S. “A New Method for Assessing the Interpersonal Behavior of Psychopathic Individuals: Preliminary Validation Studies.” Psychological Assessment. 9.1 (1997): 89 pp. 3 May 1997.

Pinel, Philippe. A Treatise on Insanity. Hafner: New York, 1962.

Rogers, Richard. Conducting Insanity Evaluations. Van Nostrand: New York, 1986.

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