Postpartum Depression In The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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The story of “The Yellow Wallpaper” discusses how depression will drive the mind to experience conflicts that will eventually lead to a mental breakdown. When Charlotte Perkins Gilman got married and had a baby what is considered the norm. The husband was isolating her by keeping her locked up in their home away from any social interactions with others. Gilman was becoming insane and losing focus on what her reality was. This nervous condition was downgraded by the husband who is a doctor and is treating her as well. Gilman felt like she was imprisoned in her own marriage not having a voice to speak up because her husband was controlling her well-being. During this time Gilman had to respect her husband’s decision and not question him. He continues to assure her the resting will cure her and once she follows his instructions she will begin to get better.

Gilman continues to see the hideous “Yellow Wallpaper” as a force that is driving her into a deeper depression of insanity. She begins to experience a pattern that brings conflicts and starts to question her husband’s motives. This story gives Gilman to motive to fight and find some solution to why she is feeling like this. This time period was no help in figuring out what was really happening to women in society. The demands from the husband restricting her activities were no help in determining the cause of the problems. Locking her up in her room was a symbol of cruel and evil behavior by Gilman’s husband. Her mind began to wander into a state of irrational thoughts not helping understand her reality. I see in this story how Gilman never gives up and will not bow down to this disease. Women in society are seen as fragile beings that have no formal education to make a diagnosis of someone’s else underlining medical conditions. There are social conformities that women are faced and encounter every day. We live in a world that is divided by gender where a man believes he has the right to dominate a women’s way of thinking. Gilman felt trapped in a yellow cage with barred windows. The husband keeping his distance away from her was no help and was making her mental depression further deep. The lost companionship and self-worth played a role because there was no emotional affection in the relationship. She was the wife and he was the husband who had complete control of everything. When Gilman starts to write her thoughts and ideas on paper, she begins to have a better understanding of helping herself from this prison she is living in. Her whole identity needs to be rebuilt to regain her existence back to life. She realizes that her husband lacks empathy toward her and only sees her as an object and not as a human being. Back in the 19th century, the social norms expected women to serve their husbands and be good at obeying spouses. The private lives of married couples were kept as a secret and never made the public aware of private matters happening in the home. Gilman’s avenue paved the way for herself as well as helping other women who suffered from depression. By her taking a proactive approach gave her a sense of questioning and rebelling her husband’s motives and society. Her desire was to gain control and evaluate the cause of the problems within her state of mind. Learning to encounter these elements will provide the necessary medical attention to help overcome mental illness in society.

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The “Yellow Wallpaper” gave a new perspective to women who were encountering depression and post-partum depression. Anyone dealing with depression is a terrible feeling and not having any clue what is going on is more depressing. The husband keeping her confined in the room was no help because he did not allow them to interact with her baby and others were making her fall into a deeper psychosis that affected her mental state of mind. Gilman was exposed to different social learning behavior with her family. Things started to change when she got married and her husband was limiting her to social activities. Gilman talked about those special things she would do like gardening and be able to interact with others socially.

In conclusion, in “The Yellow Wallpaper” most of us grow up believing that our own family is “normal”, but in reality, many families have imperfections knowing that their family unit is not happy and there is no love between the husband and wife. It’s like a contract between adults for a sense of normalcy. This typical behavior within the family displays no connection of affection and we tend to suffer emotionally, psychologically and display physical attachment of low sense of worth realizing what you are experiencing is in fact abuse. These traumatic experiences need life-changing support, to avoid passing these ineffective patterns down to other family members by stopping this dysfunctional behavior. It’s important how Gilman helped others understand what depression is and the different patterns of complicated behavior that she was subjective to every day living in a confined prison. We have a right and a responsibility to confront these obstacles by learning how to develop a coping mechanism to help ourselves provide a healthy and stable relationship with ourselves and with other family members.

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Postpartum Depression In The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman. (2021, August 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
“Postpartum Depression In The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman.” Edubirdie, 18 Aug. 2021,
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