The Yellow Wallpaper, written by Charlote Gilman, is a poem about a woman battling with a mental illness. The men that surround her do not believe that she is mentally ill, and because of their status and gender, it is believed that they are right. Her work is fairly hard to understand the first time the reader reads it. It takes several attempts and by being able to read the background of it, makes the reader connect and understand the work on levels they normally wouldnt have. Gilmans work will be examined in terms of gender, psychological, and historical.
The Yellow Wallpaper is thought of in feminist terms by most readers. It was not until the rediscovery of the story in the early 1970s that The Yellow Wallpaper was recognized as an early feminist indictment of Victorian patriarchy. (Crowder 1) Up until the 1970s it was the norm being the way that society was. As we approached the 21st century and women started becoming equal, is about the time Gilmans work became a feminist piece. Jane was oppressed by all of the men around her about what the right treatment was for her. Being that they were men, their opinions were obviously right because of the status and gender of them.
As for the psychological aspect of this poem, I believe it took a huge psychologic toll on Jane. Being that her husband thought it was necessary to put her in the room to cure her hysteria, she literally started going crazy. By her husband keeping her locked away, I believe the psychotic effect that she endured actually made her even worse than she originally was. Jane states that it made her even more depressed than before. It wasnt until she started to examine the yellow wallpaper did she slowly try to keep her sanity.
There were many different ideas that men had during the time that this poem was wrote. They were believed to not have the mental compacity as men and became mentally ill easier. For this reason society decided that woman were for housework and raising children. Leaving economic, political, and other powers to men. Women that had thoughts and they wanted to pursue were encouraged to suppress them. This is what led Gilman to write this.
She had long battled with a mental illness which during this time doctors blanketed any issues that women had with hysteria. For the most part, it didnt matter the different symptoms that women showed, they were told they had hysteria, and needed plenty of rest. This is what happened to the narrator, pushing Jane into an even deeper depression.
By examining Gilmans work by gender, psychological, and historical criticism it is makes understanding her work that much easier. It also makes understanding it by the opposite sexs point of view. By being able to read about the author and why they wrote it, makes the reader able to understand it that much easier.
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