The Yellow Wall-Paper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

982 Words 4 Pages
Paige Elder
Prof. Goyette
ENG 102 03C
11/2/2017
“The Yellow Wall-Paper:” Peeling Away Human Nature “The Yellow Wall-Paper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was written with a great amount of psychological knowledge and, quite obviously, is so realistic that it is questionable if Gilman herself had gone through this turmoil that is described within the fiction. After she birthed her first daughter, she immediately dove into a depression (Berman). The main character in this story that is being taken under her husband’s care, Jane (supposedly the wife’s name) has also recently given birth to a child and dove into a depressed state. The mental illness they both experienced is known as postpartum depression. While it was not known about in the time
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In “The Yellow Wall-Paper,” Jane is shut away from her family and any other possible supportive people in the far end of a rented estate, and she is alone for the majority of her days in the ironically notable “nursery” as characterized on page 559 (Goyette). Because of the lack of psychological knowledge in this time period, Jane’s family was actually doing the opposite of what she needed in order to heal. This could very well be a reason why her postpartum depression worsened throughout the story. The lack of knowledge about postpartum depression can be traced back to Gilman yet again, because she had a famous physician, known as Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, who only treated her in the worst way he possibly could: the rest-cure (Dunn). With all depressive disorders, one of the things depressed people want to do is lay in bed all day. However this cannot help depression at all; the preferred treatment is actually going outside or away from what is causing the depression in the first place. However, Jane characterizes the very jail-cell-like room she is trapped in as a nursery on page 559 -- obviously she is also mentally trapped in a motherly mindset (Goyette). Her surroundings are another source of her illness. This is like putting a regular depressed person in a room filled with things that make them …show more content…
This such relationship between a wife and husband was treated as a normality in the 20th century; the woman must fall into line with her roles of a mother, cook, and caretaker with utmost obedience much like her children, while the husband must fall into the role of a strong, knowledgeable man. In The Yellow Wallpaper on page 558, John tells Jane to never write even though it is her strongest passion (Goyette). It is stated by Gilman herself that her husband was “without fault” (Berman), however this excerpt from the story could prove otherwise considering that Jane and Gilman are mirror images word-for-word. It is easy to imagine that with such a manipulative home life for many women in the 20th century, domestic abuse would’ve sadly also been common. Referring back to the NIMH pamphlet, another symptom of postpartum depression can be a severe situation in the mother’s life with a few examples listed -- one being domestic abuse. Perhaps her husband was not as perfect as she said he was; perhaps she had to follow along with what her husband wanted for his reputation, which returns to common societal schemes in the 20th century. This can be supported by their later divorce after realizing what the source of her illness was which was the motherly role she was in

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