Analysis of "the yellow wallpaper" by Charlotte Gilman.

Essay by purplepeopleeaterCollege, UndergraduateA, June 2003

download word file, 5 pages 3.0

Downloaded 303 times

"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Gilman is a dramatic story about a woman who is suffering from postpartum depression. The story illustrates the subjugated role of women prior to the feminist movement. When Gilman first wrote the tale it was deemed too offensive to print. "In the 1890s editors, and especially Scudder, still officially adhered to a canon of "moral uplift" in literature, and Gilman's story, with its heroine reduced at the end to the level of a groveling animal, scarcely fitted the prescribed formula" (Scudder 1). Now, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is considered a literary victory for men and women alike. The story's unique ability to portray the feelings of women and their lack of individuality advocates for increased women's rights while abstaining from attacking men. The story showcases the lack of communication between men and women brought on by the sexual politics of the time, and the ways in which this affected individuals as well as society as a whole.

The protagonist in The Yellow Wallpaper is a woman named Jane, who recently gave birth which lead to her development of postpartum depression. "She is an imaginative, creative woman living in a society that views women who exhibit artistic and intellectual potential as anomalies, misfits, or, as in this story, ill" (Cyclopedia 1). As a direct result of the lack of medical research related to women and the general lack of empathy by the male dominated medical field, the protagonist is misdiagnosed and her mental health rapidly declines. "At that time, the medical profession had not yet distinguished between diseases of the mind and diseases of the brain; problems that would now be treated by psychiatrists, such as depression, were treated by neurologists such as Mitchell" (Korb 1). "The narrator is a woman who has...