The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Essay by superfly007 November 2002

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The Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper, a story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and first published in 1892, is a mind-boggling journey where the writer expresses her feelings in very vivid details. The writer's details and use of imagery capture the readers' imaginations in a way unlike other short stories, and such a story with a disturbing but brilliant analysis it has had a profound and powerful impact on many people regarding the role, treatment, and subjugation of women. The story appears to be a somewhat autobiographical tale of a woman who suffers from a severe and continuous nervous breakdowns, this gives a certain flow to the story that is not very consistent but very deep. While the events seem to be very real, they are also very visual and mind altered.

The narrator is detained in a lonesome, drab room in an attempt to free herself of a nervous disorder.

During the era in which this narrative was written such practices were considered beneficial, and part of what was expected and accepted along with many other medical practices that would seem horrible and absurd in today's terms. The narrator's husband, a physician, fuels this by his strong attachment to this belief. He is fully convinced of the good he is doing his wife as he forces her into a treatment of solitude. Of course rather than healing the narrator of her psychological disorder, the treatment only contributes to its effects, driving her into a severe depression and in the end into madness. Under the orders of her husband, the narrator was moved to a house far from society in the country, wherein she is locked into an upstairs room. This environment serves not as an inspiration or treatment for mental health but as an element of repression.