The Yellow Wallpaper Research Essay

The Yellow Wallpaper Research Essay-68
He speaks of her as he would a child, calling her his “little girl” and saying of her, “Bless her little heart.” He overrides her judgments on the best course of treatment for herself as he would on any issue, making her live in a house she does not like, in a room she detests, and in an isolated environment which makes her unhappy and lonely.John’s solicitous “care” shows that he believes the prevailing scientific theories which claim that women’s innate inferiority leaves them, childlike, in a state of infantile dependence.The public, friends, and family so sharply censured Gilman for her actions that she knew many women would stay in unhealthy situations rather than risk such condemnation.

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In indicting John’s patronizing treatment of his wife, Gilman indicts the system as a whole, in which many women were trapped behind damaging social definitions of the female.

One can see the negative effects of John’s (and society’s) treatment of the narrator in her response to the rest cure.

If Gilman's narrator in "The Yellow Wallpaper" regressed into her insanity, Gilman certainly did not; unlike the narrator she created, she made her voice heard.

She pursued her career as a writer and lecturer, and she wrote works of theory and social commentary that brought her international fame.

In 1887, Charlotte Perkins Gilman placed herself under the care of Dr. At that time, the medical profession had not yet distinguished between diseases of the mind and diseases of the brain; problems that would now be treated by psychiatrists, such as depression, were treated by neurologists such as Mitchell.

The symptoms of depression—fatigue, hysteria, crying fits—were thought to stem from the body, and thus were treated through care of the body.In that volume he wrote: "Now that I have it in my collection, I shiver over it as much as I did when I first read it in manuscript, though I agree with the editor of The Atlantic of the time that it was too terribly good to be printed." It was not until 1973, when it was republished after being out of print for years, that the first lengthy analysis of the story was written by Elaine R. Writing in the afterword to the volume, she stated that '"The Yellow Wallpaper' is a small literary masterpiece" and a work that "does deserve the widest possible audience." Since then, "The Yellow Wallpaper" has received widespread critical attention.Contemporary scholars have interpreted the story in numerous ways, with feminist readings being the most common.Gilman’s main purpose in writing is to condemn not only a specific medical treatment but also the misogynistic principles and resulting sexual politics that make such a treatment possible.The unequal relationship between the narrator and John is a microcosm of the larger gender inequity in society.Gilman makes it clear that much of John’s condescending and paternal behavior toward his wife has little to do with her illness.He dismisses her well-thought-out opinions and her “flights of fancy” with equal disdain, while he belittles her creative impulses.Though she concentrated on feminist issues, her influence reached beyond the woman's sphere.She has been compared by some critics to the author George Bernard Shaw and the art critic John Ruskin, and the London Chronicle compared her book, Women and Economics, to the writings of John Stuart Mill.In her horrifying depiction of a housewife gone mad, Gilman attempts to warn her readership that denying women full humanity is dangerous to women, family, and society as a whole."The Yellow Wallpaper," which was first published in the New England Magazine in 1892 after being rejected by the editor of The Atlantic, did not receive much serious attention until American writer and critic William Dean Howells published it in his The Great Modern American Stories in 1920.

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