Feminist Analysis of Yellow Wallpaper

Topics: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Feminism, Short story Pages: 4 (1333 words) Published: November 30, 2008
A Woman Trapped: A Feminist Analysis of the Yellow Wallpaper

The short story, the Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman can be analyzed in depth by both the psycho-analytic theory and the feminist theory. On one hand the reader witnesses the mind of a woman who travels the road from sanity to insanity to suicide “caused” by the wallpaper she grows to despise in her bedroom. On the other hand, the reader gets a vivid picture of a woman’s place in 1911 and how she was treated when dealing what we now term as post-partum depression. The woman I met in this story was constantly watched and controlled by her husband to such an extreme that she eventually becomes pychootic and plots to make her escape.

From the very start of this story, the Narrator suggests that there may be reason not to trust all the actions of her husband. She describes him as a man with “no patience with faith, and intense horror of superstition.” Her husband, John, is a physician and of “high standing” and seems to have made it his sole mission to make his wife better. He has taken her to a mansion far away from town to rest from what he calls a temporary nervous depression. He serves as his wife’s physician, therefore treating her like a powerless patient. The narrator does not completely agree with her husband’s diagnoses or treatment of the condition, but does not dare speak against him. “John is a physician, and—perhaps (I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind) perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster.” She cannot voice her objections or concerns on her own mental health. She is forced to write them on “dead paper” and even these writings must be kept secret.

John’s treatment of his wife is only furthered by the fact that the narrators’ brother is also a physician and again of “high standing” and agrees with John’s road to recovery. These two men decide what is best for the narrator without...
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