The Yellow Wallpaper

TheYellow Wallpaper

“TheYellowWallpaper” can be argued as probably the best short story ofCharlotte, Gilman. This story plainly creates a drama experience ofGilman’s struggle with writing,depression and living in a society that is male dominated. Manypeople questioned her drive towards writing the short story, and thismay beviewedas the main reason why she wrote the short story. Gilman’sexplanation was simple, the intention of the book was not to drivepeople crazy.Instead,it intended to savethem from being driven crazy,which she claimed worked (Billy 2). Given her mental conditions, onemight question her explanations. This essay provides a criticalreview of Gilman’s autobiography, the reason for writing the shortstory and the story itself to provide an argument of how thepost-parting depression affectsher writing of the short story.

Basingthe essay argument on Gilman’s reasoning, it is evident that thereis a parallelismbetween the author`slife and the life of the female figure in “TheYellow Wallpaper,”where women were viewed as inferior and should be submissive to thesociety and their husbands. The story,in reality,portrays what happens to peoples’ mind when they areforcedto inactivity. It realistically represents the desire of human beingto overcome that feeling that they are useless. In the 19thcentury, women’s energy was reproductive organs centered. Doctorsviewed women suffering from medical problemsas channeling energy problem. Since women reproductively werecentral in the 19thcentury, it was concluded by doctors that a “sick” woman hadsomethingwrong withher reproductively (Hedges 135). Again, at this time woman in theupper class were ideal patients. “The bank accounts of theirhusbands were inexhaustible, and patients were obedient andsubmissive to the orders of the doctor.” Gilman wastreatedfor a nervous condition same as that of the narrator in “The YellowWallpaper.” In both cases of mental illness, it shows that noefforts were made to probe the mental illness symptoms a failure tothe rest cure. The rest cure just locked the all “sick” womeninto incrediblyhelplessand submissive role, concluding that the rest cure only made worstthe psychic unrest. Gilham`sargument can justify that the wise man put her to bed, and rest curewas applied, and his conclusion was there was no problem with her.She was sent home, and the advice given was to live a domestic lifeand have a short intellectual life where she was not expected totouch pencil, brush or pen again as long as she lived.Directions that she obeyed until she felt that she washeadedfor mental ruin. Based on the argument, there is an illustration ofthe need forwomen independence, where women madness was just as a result ofinactivity.

However,in actual sense, it is viewed that the story demonstrates womenstruggle between career, marriage, personal goals and socialexpectations. In Gilham’s life as depicted from her autobiography,the story tries to bring out the feeling she had beingtrappedin a marriage. While she lost self-determination and independence,she was determined to tear down the wallpaper which would set freemysterious women. Gilham similarly to the story she tried to freeother women and other women, as demonstrated in her autobiographywhere she tried to free herself at one incidence and be her on ideascreator and also educated womentobecome independent (Billy 1). This she viewed as a way to copewith inactivity. Nonetheless, her obsession about the wallpaper gaveher something that would occupy her mind and without a doubt,the character presented by the narrator is one with real mentaldeterioration and real emotions.

Insummary, it is evident that “” was shownin the perspective of the narrator. Most of the materials presentedin the short story beingborrowedfrom herpoint of viewand autobiography which makes the story be called a realism beingconnectedto her life. The story provides a battling woman, who has to battlewith social codes and her mental condition hence providing acontroversialedge. Having undergone trying times of her life, she was motivated bythe need to break the norms and save herself from the mental ruin. Asmuch as Gilham wrote this book to save women from the samefate as hers, she was also saving herself from being inactive.Therefore, Gilman’s puerperalmania to a great extent affected her writing the short story, giventhat this short story iscenteredaround her personal life experience and the need for independence.Further, the struggles for social, careerand family independence that wasexperiencedbefore and after her depression isreflectedin the story. However muchas it could be reasoned that the narrator wanted to set others free,Gilham was not free. By writing this story, she felt that this was anideal way of independent and how women needed to be treated at a timewhere women had not stand in the society apart from being submissive.


Billy,Cynthia A. Gilman, Charlette Parkins A biographicalessay&nbspabout&nbspCharlottePerkins&nbspGilman.(2003): 1-2.

Schörkhuber,Verena. &quotCharlotte Perkins Gilman’s&quot The YellowWallpaper.&quotAn analysis.&quot (2008).

Hedges,Elaine. &quotAfterword to &quotThe Yellow Wallpaper,”Golden, Catherine, ed. The Captive Imagination: A Casebook on &quotTheYellow Wallpaper.&quotNY: Feminist Press. (1991) 130-140.