The Struggle For Freedom In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

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Locked away in a mental prison of her husband’s plotting and maneuvering, the protagonist of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a prime example of the women who face struggles seeking freedom of thought and independence. This short story is an actual portrayal of the author, Charlotte Gilman’s life. After her daughter’s birth, Gilman experienced a nervous breakdown and was prescribed a rest cure similar to what she describes in her short story. Furthermore, women did not have the freedom and rights back in the nineteenth century as they do nowadays. Female lives were limited and controlled by men when “The Yellow Wallpaper” was written. Throughout this research, a lot has been learned about Gilman’s life, the life of white …show more content…
They were virtuous, gentle voiceless creatures settled in the home. They had to take care of the house and the children. Their only purpose was to create a safe place for their husbands to be protected from the cruel and harsh outside world. The women had to be mothers and wives. Others, who wanted to do intellectual work and such, were considered to be mad or unfeminine (Haug 23). So called “unstable” women were believed not to be able to survive in the world. Moreover, if they tried to oppose their husbands, they were thought to be improper women, who suffered with mental illness (Haug 23). Haug argues that there were many women who wanted more in those time, that is why Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” was due to the time when she lived. In the story, the narrator’s physician husband diagnosed her with neurasthenia. Neurasthenia was a widespread disorder of the 1870s and very similar to hysteria with many common symptoms. However, neurasthenia was considered to be more prestigious and attractive form of nervousness. Thus, it was found in white women of higher social position of the society (Haug 25). The narrator’s husband, John, is sure that that his wife is not seriously ill and decides to take her to an inherited house to live during the summer. She is not treated at the hospital and it seems that neurasthenia was the peculiar to diagnosis of the epoch. “If a physician of high standing and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency” (Gilman 648). Neurasthenia was originally viewed as an American disorder, consequently named American nervousness, and was thought to be caused by the increasingly modern

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