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“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a short story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and published in 1982. The story is a first person narrative with a woman describing her mental health problems and the development of her disease. The story, first criticized by a number of readers for being frustrating and depressive, still made a great contribution to the treatment of neurasthenic people since some of the specialists admitted that their methods of curing patients harmed rather then helped sick people. Most of people on reading “The Yellow Wallpaper” stated that the narrator experienced a postpartum depression whereas the others expressed the idea that she had far more serious problems with her mental health. Therefore, it is necessary to trace the narrator’s stages of going mad which would testify to her getting completely insane at the end of the story.

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What should be mentioned above all is that the signs of the narrator’s lapsing into insanity can be observed at the very beginning of the story when she and her husband first arrived to the house they were going to spend their summer in. On entering the house the protagonist felt fear of it which she could not explain: “There is something strange about the house – I can feel it” (Charlotte Perkins Gilman 4). Namely this feeling of ‘something strange’ made her look for what exactly was wrong with the house which marked the first stage of her descending into insanity.

The second stage of the protagonist’s getting mad starts with her ‘analyzing’ the wallpaper of the room she was living in. Perhaps, this situation was aggravated by the fact that she was not allowed to work and to leave this room without due permission of her husband. Namely staring at the same walls every day made her examine intricate patterns of the wallpaper, consider its color and its smell. With time she felt that namely the yellow color was what contributed into her getting more and more depressed: “It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw — not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things” (Charlotte Perkins Gilman 12). The progress of her insanity at the second stage may be observed in her imagining a woman who was trapped inside the wallpaper and could not get out because of the wallpaper’s designs.

And the final stage can be traced when the protagonist starts thinking that it is she who is trapped inside the wallpaper. Her peeling away the wallpaper testifies to the fact that she could not appease with her imprisonment in the room and was trying to free herself. The peak of her insanity may be observed in her locking herself in the room stripping the remains of the yellow wallpaper in the desperate desire to get liberated. Her final stage of insanity is marked by her creeping around the room and exclaiming “I got out at last” (Charlotte Perkins Gilman 16). By peeling away the wallpaper she hated so much she freed herself and was not trapped inside of it anymore.

Taking into consideration everything mentioned above it can be stated that the protagonist of the story “The Yellow Wallpaper” experienced nothing else but gradual lapsing into insanity rather that postpartum depression which was proved by the stages of madness she was going through while living in the room she hated so much.

Works Cited

Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The Yellow Wallpaper. Orchises Press, 1990.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 22). “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/the-yellow-wallpaper-by-charlotte-perkins-gilman-essay-2/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 22). “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. https://studycorgi.com/the-yellow-wallpaper-by-charlotte-perkins-gilman-essay-2/

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"“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman." StudyCorgi, 22 Oct. 2021, studycorgi.com/the-yellow-wallpaper-by-charlotte-perkins-gilman-essay-2/.

1. StudyCorgi. "“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman." October 22, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-yellow-wallpaper-by-charlotte-perkins-gilman-essay-2/.


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StudyCorgi. "“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman." October 22, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-yellow-wallpaper-by-charlotte-perkins-gilman-essay-2/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman." October 22, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-yellow-wallpaper-by-charlotte-perkins-gilman-essay-2/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) '“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman'. 22 October.

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