How Does The Yellow Wallpaper Affect The Fallacies Of Being A Woman

Superior Essays
Charlotte Perkins Gilman made it her life’s work to reveal any injustices that occurred against women and society as a whole and did so through her various works. Gilman specifically brings light to the many atrocities that she was confronted with in her short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Not only does she reveal the prejudices that come with being a woman, but she also reveals the fallacies that existed with the treatments of mental disorders. Gilman uses her own experiences while enduring the famous “rest cure” to create the fictional woman in the story in order to show the negative outcome of the treatment at the time. Gilman was different than many of the woman of her time. “In the nineteenth century, women, as agents of moral influence, …show more content…
Gilman was eager to express these very same views in her every day life. Shortly after the birth of her daughter, Gilman began experiencing symptoms of what is now known as postpartum depression. She recalled feeling as if she was “‘No good as a wife, no good as a mother, no good at anything’” (Gilman, “The Living” 91). After a period of trying to overcome her depression, failing in the process, she finally decided to make a visit to Dr. Mitchell. After undergoing the rest cure, which consisted of “rich and fatty foods, extreme seclusion, enforced rest” and forbade any writing, reading or exercise, Gilman realized that she was even more depressed than at the start of the treatment (Davis 97). She even credits her healing to “the natural landscape of California . . . after the rest cure treatment failed her” (Hume 18). After “The Yellow Wallpaper” was published, she sent a copy to Mitchell to express her opposition to his work, though she received no answer (Davis 102). She further elaborated her disgust with the treatment in her autobiography, stating that her time under Mitchell’s treatment was “a period of unstinting misery” (Davis 103). Gilman later decided that she would make a name for herself rather than continuing her restrictive life, proclaiming “Dr. Mitchell be—!” (qtd. in Davis …show more content…
In their book, “Feminist Perspectives in Therapy,” they touch on the topic of depression. Specifically, they take a closer look at postpartum depression, which the narrator is supposedly suffering from. Worell and Remer explain that the effects of postpartum depression have the potential to be “magnified by lack of sleep, stresses of motherhood, household responsibilities, and marital strain” (Worell 154). Although these aspects of postpartum depression are stressed through the rest cure, the two further explain, stating that if the symptoms of depression last for several weeks postpartum, the woman may have been severely depressed prior to childbirth. In this case, Mitchell’s treatment may work only to the extent that it would treat the postpartum depression, but would not go any deeper to treat the depression that existed before the woman had given birth. Because of this, it is plausible that Gilman experienced this very predicament. She described her mentality as being “well while away and sick while at home” (qtd. in Davis 100). In this case, Gilman is essentially saying that she was happier without the load of motherly duties taking over her daily life. However, when reintroduced to her home life as Mitchell eventually would have his patients do, she began to relapse and fall into a depressive state. Instead of leaving Gilman to fend for herself in a marriage that, at the

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