Essay On The Oppression Of Women In The Yellow Wallpaper

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“The Yellow Wallpaper,” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is an exciting, psychological horror tale that portrays the oppression of women by the male gender in the 19th century. It is an exaggerated account of the author’s personal fight against mental illness. Similar to the main character of the short story, Gilman suffered from an extreme case of postpartum depression and was not given the proper treatment or attention necessary to cure it. “The Yellow Wallpaper” was published in 1892 after Gilman divorced her controlling husband and abandoned the medical advice of Silas Weir Mitchell, moving across the country to California with her beloved daughter (Ames, On Feminism and ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ by Charlotte Gilman). Throughout her journey …show more content…
The woman remains nameless as this represents that it does not matter; to society, she will solely be known as John’s wife. The pair have rented out what is described as a “colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, [and] even a haunted house.” The narrator is immediately awed by the majestic beauty of the house and considers herself lucky to be able to spend the summer living there. However, she still finds “something queer” about the house. John hopes that the change of scenery and absence from city life will help the narrator recover from a “slight hysterical tendency.” The narrator states the question, “if a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression, what is one to do?” This introduces the imbalance of power between men and women. The narrator suffers from an actual, mental disease, one that her husband and brother do not take seriously and doubt altogether. The question is not literal, but rather figurative. There is truly nothing a woman in that situation can do; they are not permitted to assert their dissenting opinions or if they do, they will be mocked and laughed upon. A statement coming from a man is valued, honored, and supported while that of a woman is disregarded and considered invalid. The use of the word “phosphates” is meant to illustrate that women are well-educated. This proves that the statements provided by females are not neglected due to a lack of education, but simply due to the idea that men are always right and know what is best. John diagnoses the narrator with neurasthenia and decides that the best way to treat her is through Silas Weir Mitchell’s infamous “rest cure.” This treatment was “considered by some doctors to be worse than the disease”(J Allen, The Feminism

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