The Yellow Wallpaper
The short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, tells the story of a woman's descent into complete madness as a result of the rest and cure treatment. In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the author presents a tragic story of a woman that suffers from what we can now have medically diagnosed as postpartum depression after the birth of her child and how she tries to regain her sanity from her husband John who truly had good intentions to make her well but instead it that eventually drives her to suicide. Gilman's personal story is a resemblance to that of the woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” with the exception that she did heal herself by not buying into Mr. Mitchell's rest cure treatment, which he later altered his methods only after reading this story. Perhaps the suicide ending in this story would have been an alternate ending for Gilman if she had followed the rest cure treatment. Perhaps in her struggle to free the woman behind the wallpaper, the woman in the story frees herself from her husband's demands and isolated treatment that drove her over the edge.
The character in this story suffers from what her husband can only describe as a “temporary nervous depression - a slight hysterical tendency” (Gilman 70) and has been “forbidden to work” (Gilman 71). In attempt to resolve and cure this “temporary nervous depression,” her husband takes her to a secluded colonial mansion, a hereditary estate that has been empty for year however it is private and sets away from the road and three miles away from the nearest village. In his best efforts to help her, he decided that it would be best to keep her isolated on the second floor in a room that was in the past considered a nursery, although it had several indications that the room was set up for a person that may have suffered from a mental illness, “for the windows are barred” and “rings and things in the walls” (Gilman 72). Although she disagreed with his ideas and...
Cited: Perkins Gilman, Charlotte. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Literature A Portable
Anthology. Eds. Janet E. Gardner, Beverly Lawn, Jack Ridl, and Peter Schakel.
2nd ed. Boston New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s 2009. 70-83.
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