The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1495 Words Apr 18th, 2016 6 Pages
The turn of the 20th century was a unique time for women. Feminism was beginning to unfold and many women began to question the traditional roles of wife and mother. “The Yellow Wallpaper”, a short story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is a feminist critique of the structure of society, the function of the genders, and the ways in which the lives of women were manipulated. “The Yellow Wallpaper”, inspired by Gilman’s own experience of severe postpartum depression, sheds light onto what most doctors misdiagnosed as madness, and mistreated with the prescribed “rest cure”. Her postpartum experience and lack of insight into her emotional state inspired Gilman to write this particular autobiography, using imagery and symbolism. The wallpaper itself is a concrete item symbolizing the following abstract concepts represented by the women trapped in the paper: the importance of self-expression, the benevolent dismissal of women’s mental health, and the subjugation of women in the home, all of which inevitability ignites the protagonist’s mania.
Gilman utilizes the yellow wallpaper to illustrate the oppressive attributes of women’s physical and mental treatment. The management of “hysteria”, the blanket term used to cover depression and other mental illness, consisted of rest and limited mental stimulation. The mental constraints placed upon the narrator, even more so than the physical ones, are what ultimately drive her insane. Writing is prohibited, and John, her husband,…

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