The Role Of Mental Illness In The Yellow Wallpaper

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 …show more content…
Jane feels more and more trapped, so she plans her suicide (319,320). Her actions express her lowest point and her feelings of hopelessness. Also, toward the end, Jane begins to write her journal referring to herself in third person, even to go as far as not recognizing her own husband when she refers to him as, “that man” (320). This proves that Jane has officially broken. Her constant switching is her personalities changing between that of Jane and the Wallpaper Woman. Finally, the writer at the moment exclaims, “’I’ve got out at last,’ said I, ‘in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!’ Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so I had to creep over him every time!” This proves that Jane has committed suicide. Leading up to this moment, Jane has felt trapped, but now she has freed herself from the patterns of sleepiness and sadness. She cannot be put back into that life, and john is no longer in her way. Jane is free. In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman tells the tale of a young woman whose own mind sends her spiraling into a room of destruction. The lack of knowledge of mental illness at the time has Jane caught in a crossfire of her own depression and following the orders of her husband and doctors. Her “treatment” is what eventually worsens her depression and results in her unavoidable

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