Critical Analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a detailed account of the author’s battle with depression and mental illness. Gilman’s state of mental illness and delusion is portrayed in this narrative essay. Through her account of this debilitating illness, the reader is able to relate her behavior and thoughts to that of an insane patient in an asylum. She exhibits the same type of thought processes and behaviors that are characteristic of this kind of person. In addition, she is constantly treated by those surrounding her as if she were actually in some form of mental hospital.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s state of depression began after she gave birth to her one and only daughter. She was diagnosed and given a prescription of “rest” in order to cure her disease (Kennedy 469). Gilman was taken away to a secluded home by her husband in order to obtain such “rest”. However, as it becomes evident to the reader, this “rest” actually plays a role in furthering Gilman’s mental state. The reader watches as Gilman’s condition worsens as a result of this treatment. It is through her writing and documenting that the reader is able to relate her to a mentally insane being (Kennedy 469).
As is evident to the reader, Gilman is suffering from some sort of mental disorder and/or illness. As is defined by one doctor, disease of the mind is “any medically recognized disorder that may render a defendant incapable of understanding the nature and quality of his or her actions or knowing that those actions were wrong”(Rogers 221). It is obvious through her actions and thoughts that Gilman does suffer from a disease of the mind.
Gilman first shows signs of insanity when she arrives at the old, abandoned home at which she is to begin her “rest”. The reader gets a first glimpse at her insanity as she constantly jumps from one subject to another. Gilman’s thought process is much like that of an insane being as she begins to let her thoughts run together in a mass of confusion. For example, at the beginning, Gilman is writing about a discussion with her husband, John, when suddenly she skips to a description of the old house: “But John says if I feel so I shall neglect proper self-control; so I take pains to control myself-before him, at least, and that makes me very tired. I don’t like our room a bit. I wanted one downstairs…” (Gilman 470). This sense of confusion throughout the story relays to the reader that Gilman is indeed severely mentally confused and ill. According to several doctors in the medical journal Psychological Assessment, some of the characteristics of mentally ill patients during interpersonal and personal behavior include interruptions and ignoring personal boundaries (Kosson 91). These characteristics are seen in Gilman’s conversations with herself.
Throughout the story, Gilman spends the majority of her...