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Impact of Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” on Life

I think that the life of every person can be described as a set of choices made under the influence of various factors. First, our parents make decisions for us, then we become responsible for our lives and start acting independently. Every step gradually transforms us, helps to acquire specific experiences and features, and makes us the people we are. I believe this change is a continuous, or even endless process, as every new alteration can emerge spontaneously and be triggered by different aspects. These might include the influence of other persons, places, movies, or other things that seem senseless to others. For instance, my own life and choices were greatly influenced by the poem “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman. I am a licensed practical nurse, and I perfectly remember one of the factors that influenced my decision to work in healthcare.

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It might seem incredible how a short story might influence a person. I remember my first feelings and emotions after reading “The Yellow Wallpaper”. It was a sort of insight for me, a great shock, and, at the same time, a strong inspiration. The plot is not very complex and revolves around a woman who has been prescribed a rest cure because of her depression after a baby’s birth (Gilman). However, created as a collection of entries written by the heroin, it helps readers to see how a young lady falls into insanity. Being deprived of a chance to leave the room with the yellow wallpaper, which irritated her, and being disregarded by her husband, the woman acquires more and more severe symptoms and suffers from mental problems.

Looking back at the time I first read the story, I cannot say why it was such a big event for me. I can only assume that I was deeply impressed by the dramatic story of a young woman doomed to be alone while she needed help. However, now, using my experience, I think there were several factors. First, I was impressed by how difficult and brittle the psyche of a person was. Only one trigger could lead to a dramatic deterioration of the mental state if left disregarded. Second, I think everyone has the experience of seeing or talking to a person with a similar disease. I am not an exception as I had a neighbor with specific needs, but I did not recognize it. After reading the book, I understood that some people could not be left alone, they need assistance and specific care. I think these ideas influenced my decision to become an LPN.

The story was full of specific descriptions of factors that triggered the woman’s health deterioration and complaints. But the phrase that impacted me most of all was about her being alone and not understood by others. “John does not know how much I suffer. He knows there is no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him” (Gilman). Now, as an LPN, I realize that these words are a perfect description of numerous patients who have mental problems. The issue is that healthy people cannot imagine the scope of challenges patients might have. Moreover, even if they see the problem, they might underestimate it, as factors triggering the worsening of the situation might be irrelevant to them. Just the same as in the story, healthy people might think that there is no reason to suffer. I am sure that is one of the greatest problems in our society and healthcare. We often do not understand the suffering of others.

In such a way, this quote has promoted a significant change in my life. I began to think about others and the problems they face. I started to look at the ways to help them and realize their needs. Finally, I decided to start my education to become a health worker and ensure such people are not alone. There should be others who at least try to understand them and provide the demanded assistance. Loneliness and isolation are two major enemies of people in need, and the story demonstrated that disregarding people’s complaints might have a dramatic influence on numerous people. For this reason, I decided to alter the situation. If you want to change something, start with yourself. I am sure it is true, and I selected to work as an LPN to help people in need.

Concluding, I want to say that sometimes it might seem unbelievable how one little thing can change the life of a person. My decision to become a care provider did not originate from the story “The Yellow Wallpaper” only. But this novel and the fate of the woman doomed to suffer became one of the triggers. I started to think about how illusory our mental health is and how indifferent we can be. I believe people should not diminish and ignore the specific needs of others and always try to understand them. Today, it is my motto as I want to help as many people as I can.

Work Cited

Gilman, Charlotte. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Literature: A Portable Anthology, 5th ed., edited by Janet Gardner et al., Bedford, 2020.

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