What Is The Narrator's Madness In The Yellow Wallpaper

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Throughout human time, women have been oppressed by society. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s, The Yellow Wallpaper, the first-person narrative vividly describes the struggles of a nineteenth-century woman suffering with a mental illness and her decent into a mind-numbing insanity. The narrator’s madness is ultimately caused by the oppressive structures of society that woman in the nineteenth-century faced. Her marriage to her husband leaves the narrator confined to typical nineteenth-century gender roles and ultimately keeps her from recovering from her depression. Additionally, the narrator is deprived from any forms of self-expression and mental exercise, supposedly to aid her recovery. Ultimately, the main cause for the narrator’s insanity …show more content…
Although the treatment kept some patients alive and out of asylums, many physicians and patients often believed that the cure was just as bad as the disease. In The Yellow Wallpaper, the narrator represents the ways in which an ill mind can begin to fall apart on itself when it is forced to remain inactive due to the rest cure. Evidently, the narrator is forced to remain bedridden in the nursery at all times with no source of mental or emotional simulation whatsoever. Due to her confinement, the narrator’s mind begins to go wild and she begins to make an enemy out of the yellow paper and the apparition within. The narrator later rips the wallpaper to shreds and states “I’ve got out at last, … in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back (Perkins Gilman, 22). Essentially, the wallpaper was a metaphor for the repression of her mind and the apparition trapped within may have possibly been the narrator herself. Thus, tearing off the wallpaper was significant to finally setting herself free from the tortures of the rest

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