The Yellow Wall Paper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wall Paper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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The Yellow Wall-paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is a short story that was written during a time of great change in the world, was published in 1892. It is considered to be about feminism. The story is a narrative about the author’s own experience with depression. Gilman was prescribed S. Weir Mitchell’s “resting cure” for her depression and in fact it caused her great distress. The story is written in the form of a secret journal. It is not too surprising that she wrote the structure of her short story as an attack on the method of treatment. Rest cure is a type of treatment that was prescribed by doctors that required a person to spend a period of time without any activity in order to improve ones physical or mental health. “Gilman’s autobiography and short story paint a vivid picture of what the rest cure may have been like for some nineteenth-century women” (Stiles). The story expresses the roles of women and men in a household, the unfair way women were not allowed to make their own decisions and the start of women standing up for themselves. Throughout the short story, a great deal of ironic aspects as well as many themes can be found. Some of the themes include the subordination of women in marriage, the importance of self-expression, and the negative effects of the resting cure.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story proves that she has a strong opinion about the social and medical treatments of women of her time. She believes that a mind that is forbidden to be inactive will only lead to self-destruction. She advocated revised roles for women, whom she believed should have more of an equal economic, social and, political standing when compared to men. She thought that women should want to strive to gain freedom outside ...


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...stay in, in order for her to become well. Another type of irony found in this literary work is situational irony. This is evident when the prescribed treatment worsens the depression of the narrator.
As the story goes on the narrator’s mental health declines. She becomes especially obsessed with the pattern of the wallpaper. She even believes she sees a woman trapped in it, which is symbolic of the way she felt trapped during her treatment as well as the position of women in a household during that time period. At the end of the story the narrator has stripped off all the wallpaper from the walls and is creeping around. When John approaches the door she tells him that she is free and has liberated herself. John then faints, which is a representation of weakness, and the narrator continues to creep over him. This is symbolic of her feeling superior over her husband.

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