Charlotte Gilman 's The Yellow Wallpaper

956 Words Jan 29th, 2016 4 Pages
In the 19th century, little was known about the severity of mental illness. In her short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman recounts the breakdown of her main character’s psyche. Jane’s story parallels Gilman’s life which was partially spent in a rest home similar to that in which Jane lives. Unfortunately, Jane is nowhere near as lucky as her troubled creator. Gilman uses her own personal experiences to tell a story that mirrors her own: the lack of treatment, the progression of the illness, and the terrifying consequences that could result. Jane receives little to no mental health treatment, and that played a major role of her sanity’s deterioration. Jane is not even aware she has been sent to a rest home of, “barred windows, and then that gate at the head of the stairs,” and she is even led to believe she is staying in a place she and her husband temporarily own while their home is under renovations (310,312). This shows that her loved ones did not understand the importance of admitting a problem or confronting her illness. Jane, however, believes less opposition and more activity would do her good, contradicting her husband John who, “says the very worst thing [she] can do is to think about [her] condition” (310). John’s beliefs probably reflected those expressed toward Gilman, and Jane’s beliefs most likely mirror the author’s herself. Also, this quote could be an expression of the ignorance of mental illness since not focusing on getting better…

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