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Understanding The Yellow Wallpaper

1226 words - 5 pages

Understanding The Yellow Wallpaper

 
   There are more reported cases of clinical depression in women than their are in men. There is also, generalized in western cultures, a stereotype that women are fragile and should be more dedicated to maintaining the home, doing feminine things, that they shouldn't work, and be discouraged from intellectual thinking. In the Victorian period (1837-1901) aside from women's suffragette movements the Victorian woman usually upheld this stereotype of a well behaved wife, more or less a possession then an individual. However, there were a few who defied the odds and took it to heart to let the world know about the indifference's that they went through. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, feminist, was one of these women who used her writing to express the differences and hardships women went through. One of her more famous works, the Yellow Wallpaper, is known as both a feminist piece and a depiction of Victorian life and indifferences for women. It is a piece that can have controversial meanings that can be taken to heart to why Gilman ever wrote it.

 

"The Yellow Wallpaper" has a simple enough story, the woman is taken to a rented house to recover from a nervous depression that she was experiencing. The depression was something common in women of the time, especially in more upper class women with little to do. The antidote " the cure" was developed by a Weir Mitchell, for psychoneurosies, in theory a women should inhibit herself from any kind of work or thinking and to get as much fresh air as possible. The heroine is subjected to this cure. Having been confined to a room in the house she starts imagining things in the wallpaper that she hates so much. However, as the story progresses it is harder and harder to tell if the women's imagination is getting to her or if she is slowly slipping in to madness, as she hallucinates people in the wallpaper and adopts a protective nature for it becoming one with her imagination.

 

The author of the story, Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born in July 3, 1860, in Hartford. Charlotte Perkins Gilman is an important figure in feminist activism and literature. Her father was Frederick Perkins, who was an editor and a librarian. Frederick Perkins, however abandoned the family when Gilman was only a baby. In the years to come the only real contact he had with his daughter was that he provided her with book lists." Gilman's relationship with her mother proved similarly peculiar, for her mother knowingly abstained from affection. In addition, Gilman was prevented by her mother from reading fiction or developing strong friendships"(Stone). The only company that Gilman found herself around was her relatives, Harriet Beecher Stowe or Catherine Beecher and Isabella Hooker (feminist activists) However, against her mothers ~Arishes she grew a love for books. Before Gilmans early twenties she taught as a teacher, she soon married though, an artist by the name of Walter Stetson....

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