"The New Mother's Freedom"

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade July 2001

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A lonely mother stands crying next to the crib her newborn baby is sleeping in and has feelings of total helplessness for her newborn child. Her husband tries to comfort her and tell her that everything is fine but she still feels as if she can do nothing. The mother is most likely suffering from heavy depression after childbirth, often called postpartum depression. Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote a short story entitled "The Yellow Wall-Paper" about a new mother who was suffering from this terrible depression, which no one believed was a horrible condition. The new mother was seeking a right to express how she felt and to do anything she wanted while gaining independence from her husband's way of fulfilling his wife's needs and desires.

        Her husband, John, and his brother were both high standing physicians. They both tell her that she is suffering from a temporary nervous depression. The new mother would agree with her husband verbally but inside she knew that she was suffering from something much worse.

Her husband gives her no independence to think for herself and imposes her thoughts by making her obey everything that he commands her to do.

        In "The Yellow Wall-Paper" the new mother is the narrator writing the story. The new mother feels her writings are the only way that she can truly express her sadness, fear, and anger. John does not approve of her writing though. John believes that if she writes he will not be commanding over that factor of her life and he knows that she will truly be able to think for herself and gain independence from him. John is truly oppressing the new mother to the point where she can't bear it anymore.

        Numerous times in the story, the new mother tells of her needs of...