Postpartum depression has many different effects on women and is treated differently today than it was during the nineteenth century. Today, women will take specific medications in order to not affect the health of the child that the mother has to care for. Back then, the treatment given by many doctors was just to rest and do really nothing at all. For the narrator, this meant staying in an old nursery room while not being able to be around her child or talk to many people. “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 76). Some days she did go on walks and go to the garden, but that was the only source of getting out she had. Even the narrator thinks that “congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good” (Gilman 76). At times she feels much better and wants to do things or go places ...
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...n 89). There are questions raised in this line. Who is Jane? The narrator finally having a breakthrough and becoming a new person? A stranger? This leaves the reader questioning and thinking that maybe Gilman left that for the reader to decide who it really is. With this being one of the last sentences in the short story, it embodies the whole idea of the narrator’s freedom.
Gilman did an extraordinary job of portraying life for women in the nineteenth century, while also struggling with postpartum depression. The narrator goes through this whole depression with no one really being there for her and helping her. The role of men was to be the dominating figure while the wife had to play along and do what was said. She finally broke out of that life and did what she wanted to do, tearing down the wallpaper and freeing the lady, which was ultimately freeing herself.
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