Yellow Wallpaper Woman

1118 Words 5 Pages
The Progressive Era has brought about much advancement due to those living before and during the time who endured many hardships to bring about the change. In particular, women were the group that led strict lives to follow the conducts set by society, their husbands, and even other women. Although some women were educated, they were not allowed to write or openly express their ideas. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, an unnamed narrator is one of those women who dared to write, although in secret. After giving birth to her son, she becomes emotionally unstable and discontented with her condition. So her husband decides to cure her neurasthenia by confining her in a colonial mansion. During her unusual stay there, she observes …show more content…
Upon her arrival at the mansion, the woman’s first impression towards the house is curiosity and the strangeness of it. Unknown to her is the mansion is not a vacation house. She observes in her room the windows are barred for children; however, that is not the entire case. As she discovers other objects in the room, such as the gnawed bed nailed to the ground, the wallpaper that has been ripped and torn in many places, damaged floor, and the plaster dug out, the readers find it is not a typical nursery the narrator assumes to be staying in (Gilman). These strange findings allude the fact that this room is a “rest cure” room of her era and not simply a tattered room because the rest of the house and garden are beautiful. The rest cure method was popularized the physician Silas Weir Mitchell, who primarily used it to treat “nervous women, who as a rule are thin, and lack blood” (9) through “rest, systematic feeding, and passive exercise” (10). This prescription not only makes her stay in this terrifying room but it also completely isolates her as her family and friends could not visit her. It was believed that women’s mental health could be cured through inactivity and total rest; however, any sane person’s mind left in this situation will self-destruct. The narrator herself states if she “had less opposition and more society and stimulus” then perhaps she would be cured …show more content…
At the beginning of the narrative, she uses the word “personally” twice to oppose the methods of the rest cure. Although the story is her own narrative and only from her perspective, she still uses this word to add emphasis, because the society of her time will not listen to a woman’s opinion and or care about it. Even though critics of the rest cure saw it as a symbol of “suppression of female creativity” (Martin), the unnamed narrator is an exception. When society tried to restrict her, her imagination instead grew more creative. Soon enough, she sees a woman trapped inside of the wallpaper “creeping”, “crawling”, and shaking invisible bars (Gilman). In her mind, the narrator is animating an inanimate object. Possibly due to her own circumstances, she is imagining herself as that very woman in the wallpaper. The narrator also feels imprisoned and helpless like the trapped woman, but wants to be free and able to creep and crawl like a child to satisfy her curiosity. The wallpaper truly heightens her senses and occupies her entire thought which allows her to write about it with strong feelings to reveal

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