Anger turned into Craziness
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a feminist during a time when her accomplishments were exceptional for women, and she represented a role model for future generations of feminist because of her unusual concepts and life style. Her best work today is her semi-autobiographical short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” which she wrote after a severe struggle of postpartum depression. This was an age in which women were seen as “hysterical” and “nervous” beings and when a woman was claimed to be seriously ill after giving birth, her claims were sometimes dismissed as being invalid. In the story “The yellow Wallpaper” the narrator (Jane) a young-upper- middle class woman who is going undergoing care for postpartum depression is forced to live in a isolated country house where her husband John prescribes her with a method call the “rest cure” which instead of helping her it just causes more harm than good. For Jane the fact of no doing anything causes her breakdown. The more she gets isolated from reality she begins to hallucinate. Not only her treatment but also the yellowed wallpaper that is in her room become her obsession, trying to figure out its patters and starts to hallucinate a women that it’s trapped in the wall. The story The Yellow Wallpaper it’s a story in which the woman back then in 1890’s were constantly criticized by men because they were not able to speak for themselves. Woman lack of self expression cause that many women like the narrator were diagnosed with an advance state of “depression” even though what they needed was to be listen to what their needs were in order to feel better because they would have been doing what they like and enjoy doing. The narrator is a developing (dynamic) character because her condition changes to the worst. Her depression gets critical in sense that she starts to reflect what she is feeling through the yellowed paper.
The protagonist of the story is a woman who is newly married and it’s beginning the stage of being a mother. She is married to a psychologist whom later on the story becomes her own doctor and the one who ruins her life. At the beginning of the story she is very creative and she is highly imaginative. She is also able to express her needs. As part of her treatment, her husband forbids her from any interaction with anyone but him and his sister Jennie. This process of isolation creates confusion to Jane the narrator because its patterns become a trapped woman. At the end of the story, the narrator identifies herself with the trapped woman and she finally understands that just like her there are many women that are trapped behind the domestic patterns of their lives and that she is the one who needs to be rescue. “By freeing the woman from behind the wallpaper, Jane succeeds in freeing herself (Barth 1) but unfortunately she has become truly insane and will be dependent on her husband.
Due to society women were often criticized because women used to get so stress out because at that time woman were meant to stay at home doing what a good wife should be doing. “At the time of the story, most people believed that women were delicate and prone to madness if overstressed.”(Barth 1). The golden age of hysteria rooted largely in women’s frustrated ambitions and limited opportunities, a large amount of so-called “hysteria” cases occurred during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. This period of time became known as the “golden age of hysteria. Hysteria was known as a strictly female illness that was caused by women’s “emotionality.” As shown in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” strong and creative women, forbidden from exercising their minds and bodies, often struck out with fits of hysteria or became exceedingly depressed because they could not find constructive activities for their energy to be used. In this time woman many of whom were victimized by society’s complete misunderstanding of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a...
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