The Truth Behind The Yellow Wallpaper

Surely suppressed, Charlotte Gilman goes on to tell her story of how she was made an example of the repression of women in the nineteenth-century. Charlottes story describes a creative women diagnosed with a nervous disorder, whos recommended treatment is to live the life of a restricted housewive. Her doctor is also her husband, which his prescription for her is to become a couch potato.

In his efforts to repress her, he helps lead her to her own mental deterioration. Insanity consumes her, which leads her to become obsessed with the wallpaper in her house. In the story its apparent that the woman in The Yellow Wallpaper suffers from nervous bipolar disorder/depression considering her diagnosis and treatment, with that as her influence, Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses the wallpaper to portray an insane asylum as her story’s setting.

The narrator in Gilmans story suffers from a type of nervous depression shortly after the birth of her child. Following this; her, her baby and her husband take residence in a summer vacation home which was described as a colonial mansion. A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, i would say a haunted house (Gilman 527) . Forbidden from doing work of any kind, she spends her days in her room with its barred windows, scratched flooring, and antagonizing yellow wallpaper. Charlotte perkins refers to a women who feels mentally and physically trapped inside her home after being suggested to live a domestic life by her ultimately controlling husband who refuses to acknowledge that she is genuinely sick, which in reality makes her condition worse.

I have a scheduled prescription for each hour in the day; he takes care of me(Gilman 527). The narrator’s husband is unbearingly controlling which in the narrator’s state of illness, which leave her to believe that she is dependent and reliant on him. He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction(Gilman 527). During this time period it wasn’t uncommon for women to be repressed and not taken seriously, as for the narrator’s case she was showing obvious signs of postpartum depression and needed real treatment with medication rather than just a prescription of bedrest in which she was given. Her husband’s efforts to repress her is solely for his own personal agenda, his motives is to keep her within society’s norms so that she can have the cookie cutter housewives image. John does not know how much i really suffer (Gilman 528).

John’s sister Jennie also plays a role in helping suppress the narrator by encouraging the domestic lifestyle her husband had pushed upon the narrator. The narrator had been stripped of doing everything she had once enjoyed doing, such as writing. She was careful of hiding her writings from her husband and his sister because she was scared of what they would do if she were to go against her husband’s regimen he had given.I verily believe she thinks it is the writing which made me sick(Gilman 529). The narrator and Jennie have a close relationship. Jennie is part of the hired help in which she tends to the house and keeps an eye out for her sister in-law. She is a perfect and enthusiastic housekeeper, and hopes for no better profession(Gilman 529). Time goes by and the narrator becomes worse in which she starts to become unable to be around other people including her family. Jennie begins to take care of everything including watching her child and tending to the home.

John thought it might do me some good to see a little company, so we just had mother and Nellie and the children down for a week. Of course i didnt do a thing. Jennie sees to everything now.(Gilman 530).

The result of living a domestic live begins to take a serious toll on the narrator’s mental health. With nothing do, she resulted into being forced to be her own company, she is trapped within her own mind. However the narrator is able to acknowledge and believe that getting out of the house and being productive would benefit her. I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change would do me good (Gilman 527).   

Leave a Comment