Gilman’s short story called The Yellow Wallpaper is partially autobiographical; otherwise, I cannot imagine a healthy person with any physical and mental concerns writing such a stunning literary piece. The novel, as if criticizes the medical approaches to curing women of the depressive disorder by the so-called “rest cure.”
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Written an epistolary style, Gilman’ narration provides a better picture of how women in the nineteenth century were neglected by medical professionals. It seems to me the author’s idea that recuperation is impossible without practicing normal social skills and without communication with other people. Being isolated, therefore, can worsen the conditions leading to madness.
Because the story interprets the way female health issues were treated in the eighteenth century, I could recollect my personal experience of coming up with stress after different negative events. Nowadays, depression is considered a much more serious thing and, therefore, no one ignores that disorder as it was previously neglected. Hence, I always try to talk to a close person who would understand my concerns and who can help me find the right decision.
In contrast, the book reveals that men did not consider women being able to experience psychological and moral pressure on the part of society. Hence, Gilman writes, “…if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus – but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad” (2). By reviewing concrete emotions and feelings and capturing the heroine’s experience, it was possible to understand that isolation destroyed her as an individuality.
Further analysis and reflection on the text make me wonder why men were so ignorant of women’s concerns and needs. While looking through other historical evidence, I have realized that these problems occurred due to inadequate evaluation of women’s attitude to work, as well as the role of professional occupation in their lives.
In this respect, the author provides monologues of a woman who becomes crazy with colors in the room she was locked in: “…that wallpaper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw – not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things. But there is something else about that paper – the smell…A yellow smell” (10). Skimming through these lines, I was terror-stricken by the consequences of the medical treatment leading to psychosis.
I agree with the author, particularly about her attitude to the role of socialization in the life of humans. Her criticism of isolated treatment is justified because some of the autobiographic facts prove that working is not the main reason for depression among women. Because of accepted social norms, the position of women in society did not allow them to fulfill themselves professionally. Female professionals were not largely welcomed and, as a result, many physicians considered it the main cause of mental disorders.
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In conclusion, I should note that most of the misconceptions among the causes and underpinnings of depression are partially premised on the false stereotypes existing at the end of the nineteenth century. The short story, therefore, precisely renders the social problems and challenges of that time, particularly about women. Moreover, the author underscores the negligence on the part of the psychotherapists of the original reason for depressions among females because of firmly accepted stereotypes.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. US: Diginovus, 1981. Print.