The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s literary work “The Yellow Wallpaper” expresses a dominating relationship between a husband and a compliant wife and her gradual decent into insanity. The wife, suffering from postpartum depression, is secluded from societal influences in attempts to return her to a healthier state of mind. She is not allowed to write or think in her isolated room and over a course of three months becomes more dysfunctional as she is entrapped in what she describes as a former nursery. Her determination to go against her husband’s and physician’s restrictions ultimately makes her surrender into madness because it symbolizes her escape from oppression and resistance from the treatment she is subjected to. Critics may claim that the insanity that the wife suffers from was not the cause of her treatments but existed early in her childhood and that the room in which she occupies is in an insane asylum. However, over the course of time her seclusion makes her fixate on yellow wallpaper in her room. Eventually her fascination of the wallpaper becomes an obsession and she begins to fantasize of imprisoned women behind the paper. By the end of the story she can no longer distinguish fiction from reality and eventually looses any sanity that she held in the beginning of the story. Additionally, the isolated treatments provided by her husband plays a great role in her breakdown and her animalistic behaviors exhibited upon her husband’s return.
From the beginning of the story it is clear that John, the husband and physician, is attempting to seclude his wife from societal influences and jail her from escaping his control and treatment methods. The narrator describes the physical confinements of the colonial mansion to have a d...


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...ment she becomes the victim and prisoner of her own insanity.
The narrator’s journey into insanity is caused by her husband isolating her from societal influences and also the long period of time in which she was imprisoned without anything or anyone to stimulate her intellect. While some critics may claim that she was insane upon entering the mansion, it is clear that she was able to think and reason well and be able to hypothesize during the first few weeks of her confinement. By feeling demoralized and useless in the presence of her husband, and also not being able to vocalize her own treatment options, she slowly became the incompetent women that needed her husband to dictate her life. In the end, she escaped the realism that she felt was holding her from expressing herself and became an individual not scared to express what she was to her husband.






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