'The yellow wallpapers' is a narration by Gilman which is partly a representation of the authors life experience. The narration centers on the miserable life of a married and unhappy woman. She pays a lot of attention on the aspect of gender roles and the position of women in the society as compared to their men counterparts. In the narration, a woman suffers a depression which she believes is caused by her life in marriage. She feels like the husband; John exercises more control in her life that deprives her much freedom. Even in her depressed situation, she still feels her husband who is a doctor rule over her female status. The yellow papers come to existence when she gets confined in a room during the summer. She develops more meaning from this wallpaper as well as other wallpapers in her room. Writers develop stories from various sources which may include life experiences, friends experiences or pure imaginations. Gilman drew a lot of inspiration from her personal life as well as what she saw other women undergo in the society. Many of the stories developed by Gillman were feminist in nature which was a common topic of interest in the nineteenth century. Many women can easily associate with the plot employed in the yellow wallpaper. For instance, the aspect of marriage forms the focal point of the Gillmans story where a rebellious woman counters unequal marriage. Critical social issues such as unequal terms of marriage as well as striving to satisfy elusive desires have been brought out. Stories can provide an idea of what the society looks like including the position of men, women children and the elderly.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman had established herself as a feminist who strived to elevate the position of women in the society. Gilman was born in 1860 in the town of Hartford city of Connecticut. It has been stated in her autobiography, that Gilman faced numerous challenges while growing up as a woman. These challenges persisted despite the fact that her father being a relative of a powerful family known as the Beecher family. The challenges Gilman faced resulted from the fact that her father abandoned their family leaving Gilmans mother to stand up as a single mother. Such a position while growing up must be part of the explanation to Gilmans fight to empower women in the society. Education made Gilman move from one place to another, and she was lucky to have pursued one in such challenging conditions. The lady grew up to become an advocate of social reforms, especially that targeting the establishment of equality between men and women.
At the age of 24, Gilman got married to Charles Stetson, and they were blessed with one daughter known as Katherine. Like her younger days, Gilmans marriage was also faced with challenges that pushed her deep into depression. The poor lady suffered a severe depression disorder which was countered with unusual treatment that she never approved. It was this depression in a marriage that compelled Gilman to narrate an almost similar ordeal in the the yellow wallpaper. Gilmans position in fighting for the rights of women cannot be underestimated having played a part as a lecturer as well as an intellectual. She wrote a feminist inciting book known as women and economic which remains relevant in the modern era. Gilman also took part in writing does a man support his wife? and the home: its work and influence. Gillman was divorced and later got married for a second time in 1900 but this time to her cousin known as George Gilman. She stayed in this marriage until she succumbed to breast cancer in 1935.
Summary of the story
The narration made by the author touches on three main things which are marriage, depression, and position of women in the society. At the beginning of the narration, Gilman expresses her unconvinced state of the levels of trust between her husband and her. She doubts the intentions of her husband after finding out about the expensive the house they were to use for the summer vacation. The author then continues to talk about her unequal terms in marriage and the depression she has. According, to the narration, Gilman suffers from depression but feels like her husband John does not treat the condition with the seriousness she expected. John is a doctor Gilman disapproves the treatment recommended for depression despite approval from Gilmans brother who is also a doctor.
While it is recommended that she engages in less activity, she feels like this is a way of holding her captive. Gilman decides to free her mind using an optional but creative way which included writing what she sees. One thing that disturbs her most in this entire process is the yellow wallpaper that was in her bedroom. The yellow wallpaper helps her to imagine and write a lot of things. However, she still feels like her husband John stands in the way and would often hide her compositions. Over time, she gains a clear understanding of the yellow wallpaper to the extent that it becomes her obsession. She imagines that she can free an imaginary woman from the yellow wallpaper by tearing the paper while alone. Since she had visualized a creeping woman in the yellow wallpaper, Gilman also imagined that many women, including her, had also been trapped.
For many years, women have used various channels to fight for their rights in the society they believe been or had been dominated by men. Gilman is one woman who grew up learning about the disadvantaged position of women in the society, which included her mother. She faces a marriage in which she believes that John, her husband controls everything. The yellow wallpaper talks about similar events nut in a way that may resemble most situations within the society.
Most societies around the world expect women to serve a subordinate role and that has been mirrored in the Gilmans narration. Gilman was creative enough to use a depressed womans situation to bring out this idea. In her narration, a depressed woman goes through a lot of frustrations that society fails to understand because of insensitivity. Men worked hard to maintain their first class citizen while they equally worked hard to ensure that their wives remained second class citizens. Publication by GRIN on Gilmans yellow wallpaper indicated that the Gilman centered mostly on the feminist discourse. Gilman, often employed a unique style of language and creativity as if narrating her personal experiences.
Women and power have been a unique theme in most of Gilmans publications including a book bearing a similar theme as the main title. In the yellow wallpapers, Gilman attempts to bring out the power of a woman to realize what they deserve. While John persists in confining her wife in the name of treatment, the wife thinks that an alternative option would have been better. Gilman expresses her understanding on the topic of stress as well as a belief that depression can be relieved if allowed mingling with others. The narrator is clever to play along to the extent that she fools her husband to believe that the condition is getting better. Creativity is also revealed when the narrator decides to understand the deeper meaning of art as a means to relieve stress.
Women obsession is another important aspect that emerges in the yellow wallpapers by Gilman. Gilman has attempted to show how deep women can go in the name of being obsessed with an idea. One, Gilman attempts to show how an unsatisfied wife gains obsession to challenge the status quo. Despite being confined in the name of treatment, her obsession does not stop. The narrator can easily visualize women struggling to set themselves free from a dominant male society. The title yellow wallpapers come from one of the wall hangings that the narrator got obsessed with during a summer vacation in her confinement room. From the yellow painting, Gilman can explain how an obsessed woman can gradually visualize women confined in most wallpaper in her room. She does not approve of her husbands claimed support, and this is evident when she plays along. She even hides the stories she hides whenever writing about inspirations from the yellow wallpapers. Gilman, the author of the novel, takes the trouble to expose part of her life to the public (Gilman). She shows how much she disapproved of her husbands opinions and the depression her husband caused her. The fact that she puts it in writing is bold enough to proof the extent to which the authors obsession can take her (Treichler). She acts like a woman ready to prove a point to the world even in situations where it involves her personal life. In real life, Gilman was married to a doctor and was depressed in her first marriage. Similarly, the woman in the yellow wallpapers was married to John who was a doctor. The woman in the story also lived a depressed life after the birth of her first born daughter.
The significance of the yellow wallpaper in the feminist campaign has been recognized by Beurden as fascinating yet frightening paper strongly considered as a feminist classic. The lady narrates a horror story of a woman suffering from depression. The depression kills her from within and creates a new obsession which she fights to achieve. The feminist touch in the story has also been reiterated by Ritgero which explains how the story discourages isolation of women. The narrator undergoes psychological challenges after being confined in the name of healing the depression disorder.
Authors use various approaches to developed catching stories, and one of the ways is basing on life experiences. As established, Gilman was a feminist who was fed up with the nature in which women were treated in the society. She attempts to magnify the situation through a narration published as the yellow wallpapers. The yellow wallpapers attempt to show how women get depressed whenever they are sidelined in the society. It has also been identified that the author wanted to help the society understand that confining women only leads to more psychological damage. From this particular narration, it is possible to establish what Gilman stood for and what she admired all her life. She grew up having a negative opinion about men, and that never changed during her marriage. She writes this to show the readers that women deserve to be understood and treated in the best way possible.
Beurden, Mara van. "The Yellow Wallpaper: A Horror Story With a Feminist Touch." 2013. Bachelor Thesis. 21 February 2017 <https://www.google.co.ke/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=8&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj76NXB45_SAhXCgI8KHYQ3BsMQFghEMAc&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdspace.library.uu.nl%2Fbitstream%2Fhandle%2F1874%2F299842%2FMara%2520van%2520Beurden%25203371875%2520BA%2520Thes>.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: An Autobiography. Wisconsin: Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1935.
GRIN. Stylistic and Linguistic Means in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper". London: Grin Verlag, 2004.
Perkins, Cherlotte. The Yellow Wallpapers. n.d.
Ritgero, Til. "Behind the Wallpaper The Feminist Point of View in the Story The Yellow Wallpaper." 2010. 21 February 2017 <http://skemman.is/stream/get/1946/5344/16032/1/Behind_The_Wallpaper.pdf>.
Treichler, Paula A. "Escaping the Sentence: Diagnosis and Discourse in "The Yellow Wallpaper"." n.d. Escaping the Sentence: Diagnosis and Discourse in "The Yellow Wallpaper". 21 February 2017 <http://sites.middlebury.edu/unquietminds/files/2013/04/Diagnosis-Wallpaper.pdf>.
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