One of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's masterpieces known as "The Yellow Wall Paper" was first published in the year 1892 in the famous magazine the New England Magazine. Her piece of exceptional writing was welcomed with much awe and acclamation as she critically tackled her topic in depicting the perception of women during that period. The story which is a first person narration, takes us through an account of the young woman's mental deteriorating condition. The novel is a reflection of Gilman's own personal experience with grappling with post-partum depression. The protagonist in the story is advised to stay away from any physical activity or intellectual stimulation. Her husband in carrying out this advice from the medical fraternity takes her to a house in the country where she is kept in a nursery that is decorated with yellow wallpaper.
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The "Yellow Wallpaper" which is considered to be Gilman's best piece of fictional writing takes place in an era in which men defined the role of women in the society. It was a period in which men determined how appropriate women should behave. Men at this period were characteristic of perpetrating ideological prisons for women that had the outcome of silencing and subjecting them to their egoistic ideologies. This culture often resulted to the victimization of women in the society. Women were often imprisoned in the home setup and a kind of family servant tag was pegged on them. This was what Gilman in her exceptional piece of the "Yellow Wall Paper" tried to criticize as well as bring to light.
In portraying the arrogance that was characteristic of men towards women in this era, Gilman uses the medical's fraternity attitude towards the cure administered to the young woman.
Dr. Weir Mitchell in prescribing a cure for the woman advised on the need "to have perfect rest all the air" she could get. The fiction story opens with an unnamed woman's musings. The young mother of a new born baby and her husband, have rented a summer house so that she could recover from post-partum depression. The young woman is placed in a room in which she feels as if it is geared towards her incarceration rather than for her rehabilitation. The woman describes the color of the house as "repellant, almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight" (Gilman, 2004).
The story is a condemnation of the stereotyping that women went through in the timeline in which the story was set. Although the husband and the doctor may have had the best of intentions in administering what they thought was best for her, she ended up deteriorating instead of recovering. Her husband's perception of her state of affair and the doctor's curative advice although in good faith seemed to stereotype the young woman as irrational and thus not qualified to give ideas about what she really felt. The young woman by visualizing women in the wallpaper comes to the realization that she can not possibly live in this state. The triumphant end of the story in which he lies on the floor in an unconscious state symbolically represents the end of his triumph over her.
She crawls symbolically over him which illustrates her victory and liberation over him.
Although this literal piece of work can be considered a masterpiece, the author admits that she had to exaggerate some bits of the story in order to propagate her ideas. The piece actually depicts what she went through at some point in her life. The author of this story had suffered depression and consulted a specialist who administered to her some kind of rest cure. The specialist had forbidden her against any mental simulation such as reading. In the end she went contrary to the advice and started working again and thus came up with this fascinating piece of writing "The Yellow Wallpaper".
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