” The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is a narrative which gives the reader insight on the plight of females in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. During this time, Gilman makes it clear that ladies were not only managed by their hubbies, but also by society. The specific aspects in “The Yellow Wallpaper” which lead to this conclusion are the setting of the story, both in terms of the primary character’s space and the time period the story was written in, and the main dispute, which is the woman against her society.
This paper will proceed to explain the significance of the woman’s environments and the social pressures that held her hostage.
” The Yellow Wallpaper” was written by Gilman in 1892. From the really first page of the story it is simple to determine the scenario in which the protagonist finds herself. She strongly believes that she is ill, but her spouse and sibling, both “doctors” (Gilman, 286), believe that she is not.
Instead, they claim that she has a, “short-lived worried depression– a slight hysterical tendency” (Gilman, 286).
The lady has no recourse versus this medical diagnosis. One can securely presume that if the two medical professionals of the household feel the same method, any other physician would barely disagree. The lady has a desire to work and to be out in society, but her hubby firmly insists that she remain secluded and rest. Maybe the privacy would not be so bad if it was not for the room that her spouse insisted she consider the summertime. The female describes it as a “nursery,” but lots of features of the room suggest that is might have been anything but. There are “barred” windows, and “rings and things in the walls” (Gilman, 288). The floor is “scratched and gouged and splintered,” there are holes in the walls, and the bed is in bad shape, as well as apparently bolted to the flooring (Gilman, 290-291).
The worst thing, nevertheless, is the yellow wallpaper. It is referred to as being, “repellant, almost revolting, a smouldering, dirty yellow” (Gilman, 288). The female mentions that the paper has actually been managed in locations, and the vine pattern is almost frustrating by description. This brilliant recreation of the space makes one believe that it most likely was not a nursery at all. Rather, the room reminds one more of an insane asylum. Although the other half declares the female is not sick, one must doubt his true ideas after insisting his other half remain in such a room.
The female informs the reader lots of things that she does not feel comfortable relating to her husband or her sister-in-law. She longs to be elsewhere, anywhere else. She pleads with her hubby to let her check out with relatives, however he declares that she is not strong enough to go (Gilman, 292). She begs to go home early, but he will not hear of it. It seems that, typically, whatever she wishes to do that might make her feel a bit much better runs out the concern. Instead, he recommends that if she is not better in the Fall, she needs to go to a physician that focuses on “female hysteria” (Gilman, 291). The lady understands that this physician will not do anything for her that her partner is not currently doing, and will probably limit her a lot more (Gilman, 291).
The reader thinks that anxiety is not well comprehended by the society in which the female lives. The cure, according to the times, was to have the female simply sit around and do nothing while being kept mainly out of sight. While rest may be good for anxiety, it seems that society during Gilman’s time was ill geared up to handle a female who wept and discovered it hard to carry out the needs anticipated of her. Because no one really understood what to do, it must have seemed best to conceal such people away and pretend that the issue would repair itself. Besides, the woman’s spouse declared that she was not sick for as long as he could.
Anxiety was not seen as a health problem, which provides credibility to the idea that the hubby wished to send out the woman away to the other “medical professional” so she would not be a problem to him. One clue to the female’s problem rests in the revelation that she has a child (Gilman, 293). Nobody discusses the age of the infant, but the impression is that the kid is still really small. Postpartum anxiety would not be thought of until many years later, but the reader could make a case for the female having this particular condition. No matter what was incorrect, it is clear that society was ill prepared to deal with health problems of the mind.
The text of “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a resist society within itself. The lady mentions lot of times that she is not expected to be composing, and many paragraphs are closed with the quick remark that somebody is coming, and thus she must hide her papers away. Part of the woman’s “treatment” was to not write, and being avoided writing, due to the fact that her husband, “dislikes to have me write a word” (Gilman, 288) forces her to become more and more deceptive. It might be that this impulse to slip around and hide her feelings leads to her mental degeneration. It is very clear by the ending of the story that she may not have been crazy before, however the solitude and privacy in the awful yellow space presses her to the very edge of sanity.
She speaks of a lady who shares the space with her, but the other lady is trapped behind the wallpaper. While this appears to be a fairly harmless fantasy, she begins to believe that the female is getting out and strolling around the house (Gilman, 297). Perhaps this is a desire, though through a transformed mindset, to be complimentary and stroll as she wished.
Frightening enough, the woman appears to enhance when she has this “other” lady to be interested in (Gilman, 295). She will not inform anyone about this other woman, however, because “it does refrain from doing to trust people excessive” (Gilman, 297). This woman is so caught by the expectations of her society that she can not feel safe discussing what she sees and how she feels. She is just as stuck as the female behind the wallpaper.
The more ill the lady gets, the more she begins to see other women in the wallpaper (Gilman, 299). They are “sneaking” all over: behind the wallpaper, around your home, and in the garden. Not one of them is able to risk being seen, so they just creep around and conceal. This, in this author’s viewpoint, is Gilman’s declaration about all females in her society, ill or not. All females were kept under the thumb of someone, be it a father, other half, sibling, or doctor. None had the ability to head out and do precisely what they wished, or be precisely what they wanted. Instead, they were required to move about in trick, not trusting anybody with their most inward feelings. Maybe this caused the “hysteria” that guys so liked to detect.
When the lady lastly manages to set the “other female,” whom she now sees as herself, complimentary, her spouse faints with horror (Gilman, 300). Not only did he faint, however to the female’s annoyance he passes out “right throughout (her) course … so that (she) had to creep over him each time!” (Gilman, 300). Even when she set herself “complimentary,” she still might not get away from social suitables entirely. She was still required to “creep,” however at least she could lastly sneak over a man. The female in the story is totally free since she has lost her mind, however Gilman is totally free because she can tell the story, even though she must sneak around to get to the point. Ladies are slaves of society, and they need to do what is required to break out.
” The Yellow Wallpaper” is a story of a lady who goes mad due to her captivity, but it is also the story of lots of women who were pushed into societal functions that they neither desired or was worthy of. Spouses are blamed for most of the control of ladies, but society played a huge part. The time and physical setting of the story, in addition to the main conflict of lady against society, is played out in Gilman’s story in an unusual way, but one that resonates even today.
Mental illness is still stigmatizing to lots of people, not simply ladies now, and lots of females still enable themselves to be pressed into roles they do not wish to play by the guys in their lives. Even though the story is well over one hundred years old, there are still lessons to be learned from a lady’s good into insanity and increase to mental freedom. It is a shame, nevertheless, that the only way to freedom was to lose touch with a world that would not approve it itself.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, New England Magazine, 1892.
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