One must first understand the life of Charlotte Perkins Gilman before trying to grasp an understanding of The Yellow Wallpaper from a feminist view. Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1860. Gilman’s father left the family shortly after Charlotte was born. Before becoming a teacher, she attended the Rhode Island School of design, where she met artist Charles Stetson in 1884. They married shortly thereafter and had a daughter the following year. After she gave birth to her daughter, she became deeply depressed, a depression that today would likely be categorized as postpartum depression. However, at this time it was diagnosed as neurasthenia.
Many of the illnesses that are known to modern medicine were known by different names during the time this was written. Howev...
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...nd) before the rest cure completely deteriorated her mind. Gilman’s purpose for writing The Yellow Wallpaper was “to make the world suit her” (Why I wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper”) she wanted society to change its views on dominating women and their psychology.
As a whole, the story The Yellow Wallpaper was a means to express Gilman’s feminist views, demonstrating the physical and mental hardships faced by women during this time period. Through this story, Gilman speaks of the imprisonment and psychological struggles placed on women by society. Gilman illustrates with setting, symbolism and irony that the narrator was able to achieve the freedom she so longed for, by discovering who she was despite the assistance from her husband. In Gilman’s mind, women must take the power of removing gender roles into their own hands from the social order for women to ever be free.
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