The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gillman

The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gillman

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The Yellow Wallpaper is a story of a new mother struggling with postpartum depression. Family members, including her husband, believed she was suffering from a nervous condition. The author of the story The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gillman, was a woman’s activist who believed there was no difference between men and women mentalities. An example of this, Gilman was quoted as saying, “There is no female mind. The brain is not an organ of sex. Might as well speak of a female liver” (BrainyQuote). The story takes place during a time when women were oppressed. Gilman utilizes the narrator to describe the impact of her own suffering from a “mental illness.” This famous tale challenged the medical profession and traditional roles for men and women in the nineteenth century.
To begin, Gilman illustrates in her text The Yellow Wallpaper, the discourse of medical science in the nineteenth century. The narrator’s husband John is a physician and believes that his wife (the narrator) is suffering from physical exhaustion caused by the labor and delivery of their child. He believes the prescription to cure this issue, is complete mental and physical rest with no outside stimulus. John believes that the only way his wife will get better, is if he confines her to a bedroom where she is forbidden to work and limits her to certain exercises. For example, “So I take phosphates or phosphites - whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to "work" until I am well again” (Gilman). The narrator disagrees with this treatment and expresses that “congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good” (Gilman). This story is a reflection of the struggle Gilman endured after having her dau...


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...lity for women in this piece. Dr. Beverly Hume wrote in the article, “Managing madness in Gilman 's "the yellow wall-paper,"” about how Gilman’s ideologies were used to create this masterpiece. “However, "The Yellow Wall-Paper" appears to be a text that simultaneously mirrors Gilman 's ideological limitations as a feminist reformer and symbolically moves beyond those limitations” (Hume 6). The Yellow Wallpaper was a literary success and was influential in how women are portrayed today. Although, at the end of the story the narrator regressed into insanity, Gilman did not. In my opinion, Gilman remained sane because she able to escape insanity because of her literary adventures. This piece should be appreciated by society because it allows us to see through a window to the medical practices of the nineteenth century and how far we have advanced from those practices.

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