Theme Of Postpartum Depression In The Yellow Wallpaper

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There have been many times throughout history that women were displayed as being insignificant, or unable to think for themselves. While this is very different today, strong women standing up as large figures within society, it is still visible within many works of literature. Author Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935), was a very strong writer, activist, and lecturer that held the ability to show the struggles for women within this period dealing with issues such as postpartum depression. Gilman is the author of 1892 The Yellow Wallpaper, a short story that follows the journal entries of a married woman battling with postpartum depression. It is through this story that readers are able to see Gilman's desire for freedom from these social …show more content…

This treatment is a form of isolation, separating her from others where she will not complete any duties, to help resolve her nervous troubles. However, it is explained through secret journal entries that the wife does not feel this will help, and that she is not actually sick. In fact, she feels that the opposite; exercise, activities, and a normal life, would actually be very beneficial to her. However, even with these emotions her opinion against her husband and brother, who is also a physician, means next to nothing. As they move into the house the wife does not like it. She describes it as having a haunted feeling, dark and queer. John laughs these superstitions off and takes her to her new room. The room she is now staying in is an old nursery, small and bare. It is described as having one window that has been barred, a bed that is seemingly nailed to the floor, and a disgustingly colored yellow wallpaper. Immediately, the wife hates this wallpaper. It is described to be discolored in parts, showing its age, as well as being patchy and torn. Throughout the room it is said to have this intricate design, seeming to hold no pattern. The room is very unsettling to her, and the wife …show more content…

For example, she is said to have nervous tendencies, as explained in the beginning of the story, however these nerves are never truly expressed. They could be inferred, through her fixation on the wallpaper although they could be further expressed through her interactions. In fact, little information is given about any interactions except for when she asks John for a new room. Furthermore, she claims that, “And John is so queer now, that I don’t want to irritate him,” (Gilman 130). While she points out a vague sense of oddness she gets from John, she never expresses why she feels this way. However it could be said that it is through this vagueness, this sense of insanity, that the plot and theme truly develops. As the wife progresses through the story she seems to go from this timid girl to a scheming woman, hiding her fascination with the wallpaper from John, as her insanity progresses. It could be inferred through her ending statements, such as her comments about the figure creeping in the daylight, stating, “It must be very humiliating to be caught creeping by daylight!” (Gilman 130). This statement can be related back to her own behavior, the way she is, again, timid and submissive with her husband yet defiant in her own way, such as her writing. As the plot progresses she seems to continue to hide her “creeping” as she hides her fascination with the

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