Character Analysis of Charlotte Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"

Essay by kandice292College, UndergraduateA, June 2005

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

Downloaded 21 times

In Charlotte Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" the main character is a woman who might have been slowly slipping into a state of insanity, but her husband caused the process to escalate as quickly as it did. Gilman's insanity was not inflicted maliciously or intentionally, but grew out of erroneous ideas. She was forced to listen and accept the diagnosis of men without the ability to express what she felt her condition was. Women of that time were oppressed by men and by society, and yet no matter how much of her freedom was removed by them, Charlotte continued to write and keep her own secret thoughts on everything around her. She refused to completely give up her spirit and freedom. The result of being in complete solitude created an environment that left the main character no chance to maintain her sanity.

Gilman's insanity was a result of an uneducated diagnosis.

Her husband, and brother, had believed in the treatment of "rest cure" which was developed by S. Weir Mitchell, a Philadelphia physician. This treatment required confining the patient to a hospital or remote residence in complete isolation, putting them on bed rest, increasing their food intake, iron supplements, and exercise. When Gilman's husband, John, moved them into the new house he immediately took to the "rest cure" treatment. Charlotte was put in a room upstairs, away from everyone. Although he shared a room with her, he was hardly ever home and would not allow her to leave the room at all. All she had was a small window to help connect her with the outside world. So what did Charlotte do? She closed her mouth and wrote it all down in her journal, which she kept secret because that too would have been taken from her. When...