Summary… The Yellow Wallpaper — A Descent into Madness In the nineteenth century, women in literature were often portrayed as submissive to men. Literature of the period often characterized women as oppressed by society, as well as by the male influences in their lives. The Yellow Wallpaper brilliantly illustrates this philosophy. The house is supposed to be a place where she can recover from severe postpartum depression.
The irony of this situation is highlighted by the fact that her husband is a doctor. However, he is never referred to as a doctor, rather as a physician.
They were most concerned with what they could physically touch and analyze, measure and quantify and were correspondingly hesitant to deal with the less certain realm of psychological distress. An example of how emphasis on the physical, rather than mental, is detrimental is apparent when John forbids his wife to write lest she become fatigued and worsen her condition.
As the narrator says, it is a mental relief to write things down, but this is something her strictly physical husband can not understand.
Ironically, the effort of writing in secret and keeping it hidden tires her more than the writing itself. In effect, she would be better off if she were allowed to write in the first place. We have another case of improper treatment when the narrator longs for the company of others, particularly her socially stimulating cousins.
John assures her that it would worsen her condition, and it is best for her to rest alone in her room. Of course, John is unable to see the mental threat of his wife having to spend all of her time focussing on the wallpaper, slipping into madness.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman c. The nursery where John makes her stay is on an upper floor, out of the way of the main house again, the negative effects of social isolation. Of course, there is also the issue of the wallpaper in the room, with which she develops a psychotic relationship.
However, John does not sense this in the slightest and finds the room well-fitting for his ill wife because of the extra fresh air she will have from all the windows and high altitude of the room. The irony here is that the fresh air offers a very minimal physical benefit compared to the extreme mental harm caused the narrator by the isolation and the wallpaper.
Another irony regarding the room is that the narrator finds comfort in occupying the room as it means that her newborn son is spared of it.
Ironically, her son would likely be far better off in the nursery than she. The baby would not experience the mental torment that the narrator does as a result of the wallpaper because it is for her conflated with her existing mental distress.
In any case, much evidence supports the idea that infants have very poor vision beyond several feet, and that they grow to tune out familiar stimuli. Therefore, a baby would not be able to see the wallpaper well enough to dwell on the pattern and design and would also lose interest after it became familiar.
One final instance of irony comes at the end. This again ties into the idea of men as empirical and objective as well as the strong feminist message of the story.
In the end, when John finds his wife circling the room in an advanced stage of psychosis, his mind is unable to process the mental phenomenon before him and he simply shuts down and faints.
Ironically, the masculine need in the context of the story to measure and quantify turns out to be his grave weakness in the end as it becomes his downfallHow Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" Inspired My Novel "A White Room" CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN'S THE YELLOW WALLPAPER IN A WHITE ROOM “The Yellow Wallpaper” is about a woman diagnosed with hysteria and confined to her bed as a form of treatment.
Full online text of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
Other short stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman also available along with many others by classic and contemporary authors. Alienation caused from the dominant patriarchal society in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," and William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily", forces both protagonists into insanity.
Charlotte Gilman’s Yellow Wallpaper: Summary The Yellow Wallpaper – A Descent into Madness In the nineteenth century, women in literature were often portrayed as submissive to men. Literature of the period often characterized women as oppressed by society, as well as by the male influences in .
Misuse, abuse, strangulation, stagnation, failure to thrive, repression, regression, repulsion, expulsion. This is the spine of events that Charlotte Gilmore presents in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” her story of social ostracism, of female complacency, of male domination, and societal failure.
One element of irony which runs consistently through Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story The Yellow Wallpaper is how the ill narrator’s treatment has adverse effects on her health and plays a role in her seemingly inevitable descent into insanity.
The irony of this situation is highlighted by the fact that her husband is a doctor.