An Essay on The Yellow Wallpaper
During the middle to late 1800s, an industrial wave swept through the country sending men out into the world to work in factories and offices. Although lower class females joined their men in work, middle to upper class females sometimes became prisoners of their homes. Not only did society expect the women to be the caretakers of the home, society also expected them to do it with pleasant smiles on their faces. The stifled ambitions and imaginations of these women often caused mental problems based on unfulfilled needs and the guilt of wanting something more. In "The Yellow Wallpaper," Charlotte Perkins Gilman depicts a woman driven to madness by the pervading attitude of society represented by her husband and the yellowwallpaper in her room. The main character is unnamed for the duration of the short story. The reader can only identify her through her husband's name. Her namelessness accentuates her subservient position and submissive nature. It also creates the possibility of her as a representation of every woman, especially since society dictates that women first take their fathers' then their husbands' surnames. This woman defines herself through her writing, which is also her work. She is a creative and artistic person. This puts her in direct contrast with her husband, John. "John is practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures." John is aphysician. Where his wife is an artist, he is a man of science. His inability to relate to his wife and his general disregard for her thoughts will adversely affect her recovery. The main character, at the beginning, has a "temporary nervous depression." She has just recently had a child and is very possibly experiencing post-partem depression. Although she feels unwell, her husband and brother, also a doctor, deny her illness. "If a physician of high...
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