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Seclusion And Oppression In Charlotte Perkins´The Yellow Wallpaper

1111 words - 5 pages

When first reading the gothic feminist tale, “The Yellow Wallpaper” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, one might assume this is a short story about a women trying to save her sanity while undergoing treatment for postpartum depression. Gilman herself had suffered post-natal depression and was encouraged to undergo the “rest cure” to cure her hysteria. The treatment prescribed to Gilman resulted in her having a very similar experience as the narrator in the short story. The “perfect rest” (648), which consisted of forced bed rest and isolation sparked the inspiration for “The Yellow Wallpaper.” This story involving an unreliable narrator, became an allegory for repression of women. In “The ...view middle of the document...

What Gilman subtly suggests, through the character of John prescribing the rest cure, is that women were misunderstood by those who making decisions. John has convinced everyone that that there is absolutely nothing wrong with her. The narrator knows that there is something wrong with her, it is more than just a simple nervous disorder that is only temporary. This quote also demonstrates that no one believes her opinion over John’s; even though it is about her own mental health.
As the “The Yellow Wallpaper” progresses, the narrator following the orders of her husband despite her instincts and desires, also highlights that gender oppression was a ruling force in the narrator's life. He did not allow her to socialize or even really go outside he “hardly lets her stir without special direction”(648). He even goes as far as creating a special schedule “for each hour in the day” (648). She is essentially trapped inside this house, that is not even her own. She eventually accepts this method and feels ashamed when she things it is wrong. “He takes all care from me, and I feel basely ungrateful not to value it more” (650). Since she is subjected to staying in the room with only the “smoldering unclean yellow” and “revolting” wallpaper and the windows with bars (649). She slowly becomes obsessed, constantly picking and studying it, she observes that the wallpaper is “One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin/committing every artistic sin” (648). Although she acknowledges the beauty of the house and especially what surrounds it, “beautiful...quite alone, standing well back from the road, quite three miles from the village” (648), she constantly goes back to her feeling that something is not right about this house that she must now live in. The setting of the story signifies the foreshadowing of isolation and imprisonment.
As the narrators isolation and lack of inspiration continues, she is cautioned by her husband not to give in to her imagination and her “fancies”—such as writing—the narrator says that her husband “hates to have me write a word” (649). This is an example of how men thought women were fragile...

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