Patriarchal Oppression in the Yellow Wallpaper

Topics: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Feminism, The Yellow Wallpaper Pages: 3 (960 words) Published: May 30, 2006
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the author of "The Yellow Wallpaper" was a fantastic feminist writer. The story itself is a harrowing story of feminine strength and fragility. There are so many ways to analyze it, yet all of them seem to reach the same conclusion; women are oppressed be a patriarchal society. The Character in the story goes through treatment for "temporary nervous depression" and "a slight hysterical tendency." The treatment at the time for this so-called disorder was utter and complete bed rest. Gilman, having gone through this treatment herself after the birth of her child, has an amazing grasp on what something that inhibiting can do to the mind. While this treatment was believed to be the miracle cure for such ailments throughout the medical community, most of the victims of the treatment felt quite differently, and in many situations, oppressed. Gilman uses this story to make a feminist statement about the inability of the patriarchal medical profession at the time to properly treat what was probably post-mortem depression. Eventually the treatment begins to drive the woman mad. Early on in the story she states, "there is a beautiful shaded lane that runs down there from the house. I always fancy I see people walking in these numerous paths and arbors, but John has cautioned me not to give way to fancy in the least. He says that with my imaginative power and habit of story-making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies…" There are a few disturbing messages in the quotation. The most obvious issue here is that she is beginning to see things, to have hallucinations. Even more disturbing is how John, her husband and her doctor, just dismisses her and tell her not to give into it. However, from the woman;s description of her illness it doesn't seem to be something she is giving into, but rather it seems like a cold, something you come down with whether you want to or not. As the story progresses she...
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