Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

1730 words - 7 pages

For decades now critics have viewed, Gilman’s novella, “The Yellow Wallpaper” mainly in a feminist way, focusing on the way women acted and how they were treated in the 1800s. Although there are good points to the feminist criticism, one could go more in depth by psychoanalyzing it because feminism fit more into the 1800s when women did not have the roles they have today, by looking at the psychoanalytic effect the restrictions had on her, and observing the effects the room had on her.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” was written around the time period when women’s main role, “was as wife and mother, keeper of the household, guardian of the moral purity of all who lived therein” (Hartman). Women were told what to do by their husbands and their thoughts were not so important in the 1800s. Women were sort of in an “imprisonment” controlled by all men. In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Jane, the main character, is a woman suffering from postpartum. Jane’s husband is a Physician who thinks there is nothing wrong with her and because of the time period Jane could not get through to her husband that there really was something wrong with her. “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage” (Gilman). John was putting a mental strain on Jane by isolating her and thinking that there is nothing wrong with her. Although feminism fit almost perfectly for Gilman’s story, it does not complete the modern day criticism of, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Today, women have a bigger role in life as a whole. Women have high paid jobs, work on farms, have their husbands’ cook for the family, and lead other men. The women who have never known about the way women were once treated in the past may not view Gilman’s novella in a feminist way. If the readers swap the two main characters John and Jane it would not make much difference now in the 21st Century. Considering the fact that men and women are completely equal today, anyone locked up and isolated away from everything would eventually lose their mind.
Psychologically, a person being controlled and not being able to make their own decisions will eventually lose their own state of mind. “The Yellow Wallpaper” “is a tale of mental breakdown” (Suess). Jane’s husband has her under many restrictions and does not once listen to what she has to say about her own health. Jane says in Gilman’s story, “PERHAPS that is one reason I do not get well faster” referring to her husband being a physician and him not believing that she is sick. Just the fact that John does not believe Jane is sick puts a mental ware on her. What is she supposed to do when her own family does not think there is anything wrong with her, when she knows there is. In the story, John chooses to restrict Jane from rooms in the house and having guests over. He takes it to an extent where he is feeding her brain what he believes is going on and what he feels needs to happen. Jane states, “He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir...

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