The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman 's "The Yellow Wallpaper" uses the elements of theme and setting to create an astounding piece of literature. The issues the narrator faces within herself, marriage, and women overall in society, are captured in the setting and theme of this story. The narrator struggles with her mental illness which is challenging enough; grasping to find a voice to explain her thoughts only to be met with opposition from her husband John, a Doctor. "John does not know how much I really suffer. He knows there is no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him. Of course, it is only nervousness." (Perkins Gilman 673 - 684)
Following the standard practice of medicine of the time, John attempts to nurture his wife back to health as best he knows as a practitioner. "John is a physician, and perhaps ---(I would not say it to another living soul, of course, but this dead paper and a great relief to my mind)---perhaps that is the reason I do not get well faster."(Perkins Gilman 673 - 684)  In addition to advising her medically, John asserts himself as head of the family; controlling decisions within the marriage and dismissing his wife’s thoughts, fears, and emotions as
When the narrator attempts to assert herself, John quiets her as if she were a child and insists he 's way is best and of the only option. "I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus--but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad."(Perkins Gilman 673 - 684) The setting - the home, "quite alone standing well back from the road," the room with "big, airy room... with windows that look all ways,” with the yellow wallpaper, barred windows and a bed...


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...posed to play in the society. The story is relevant to the society of today since it depicts the things the most women goes through without saying or coming out in the hands of regressive men. Most men had the attitude that feminist movements are rather useless and weak, while similarly, in the story, people who are like John view their wives as useless outside home. As Freud puts it, John uses his ego to demean women. Gilman goes through a tough period of postpartum depression and isolation (Treichler, 76). During this time, she lacks the purpose of living since her husband was not supportive of her work. She allows her sub consciousness to be mistreated. She, however, does not conform to her husband ideas. After the divorce, she later married again, but it did not go well. Gilman interprets the notion of nonconformity, individualism and breaking away from tradition.

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