The Yellow Wallpaper Solitary Confinement

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For some, being alone invokes this feeling deep down of something not being right. You feel fidgety, you want someone next to you, you need social interaction. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper readers and or viewers feel that same feeling. The character trapped inside the nursery and her mind can’t sit still. Put on bed rest by doctor’s orders and barred to the nursery inside their rental home, Gilman’s character is forced to contend with this unsettling reality, no mental stimulation in order to get better. By locking herself away in the nursery she unknowingly put herself on a course that would lead to her mental breakdown, this breakdown can also be seen in prisoners subjected to solitary confinement.
At the start of the
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She was comforted by the fact that since the child was gone, it would not have been subjected to the same mental torture that she was undergoing by staying in the nursery surrounded by the yellow wallpaper. One of Gilman’s main concepts within Women in Economics was how mothers who stayed at home should earn relative wages to the work that they complete. However, Gilman believed that, “women who are not mothers have no economic status at all” (202). Based on her beliefs Gilman’s character who sent her child away should have no status at all then given her actions. By sending her child away, she also sent away any hope for status, or mental stimulation that comes with raising a child. She now became completely dependent on her husband for status and economic prosperity, concepts which Gilman’s believed that women should be able to hold on their own. Her character was building the foundation for her own downward spiral into a psychotic …show more content…
Max Weber defined the iron cage as the“dominance of material acquisition & impersonal bureaucratic forms of organization resulting in the decay of the human spirit & the disenchantment of the world” (Weber 149). When Gilman’s character began to question the design of the wallpaper, you can see the spirit within her slowly begin to die. While she was not smothered by material acquisition, it was the impersonalness and lack of mental stimulation that brought on her mental illness. Since her husband was gone for days at a time, and with only herself to talk to, living in the nursery she became detached from society. Later in the scene, Gilman’s character is seen discussing her fear of going outside and her need to hide within the shadows if someone was approaching. That behavior is consistent with someone suffering from a mental breakdown. Furthermore Weber believed that “waste of time is thus the first and in principle the deadliest of sins” (145). By spending all of her time within that nursery, Gilman’s character was committing a deadly sin sending her further away from being connected with society. In a time when religion played a crucial role in society, committing deadly sins just exacerbated her disenchantment from society. Gilman’s character however while mentally trapped within the nursery had the opportunity to leave, unlike the prisoners today confined

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