This paper will involve concentrated analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in light of the critical theory Infection in the Sentence: The Woman Writer and the Anxiety of Authorship written by Gilbert and Gubar. The theory provided in Infection in the Sentence: The Woman Writer and the Anxiety of Authorship will be briefly discussed in relation to The Yellow Wallpaper’s main heroine character and functionality of a madwoman in the fiction. This critical theory provides a perfect background for the analysis of a madwoman, thus proving that The Yellow Wallpaper deserves acclaim on several levels of consciousness.
Gilbert and Gubar develop their theory around the meaning “infection in sentence”, which implies an emotional battle caused through the course of obedience with a patriarchal regime, yet recognition of the need of women authorship; the authorship that later on will reveal the most sacred and personal secrets of women writers and serve to alter the manner in which women’s writings are comprehended and interpreted. A point not lost on Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who feels vindicated after The Yellow Wallpaper was published and the reason why Weir Mitchell changed his methods of curing psychosis. “If that is a fact”, she declared, “I have not lived in vain” (Gilman 1374). However, the literary women of the nineteenth century had to endure a wounded battle before gaining their liberty and social acceptance of their work. The image of the madwoman is often utilized by women writers in order to portray an internal conflict against social norms and structures. Undoubtedly, the poignant story of Charlotte Perkins Gilman is one of the brightest examples of a madwoman’s behavior and conflict. According to Gilbert and Gubar, Gilman herself called the story “a description of a case of nervous breakdown” (1372). The narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper is socially recognized as a madwoman and the constant theme is her subjugation as wife to her...
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