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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Blog Option 4: "The Yellow Wallpaper"

Alex Foley
Blog Option 4
While I cannot honestly state that this short story mirrors anything in my personal life, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is one of the most memorable works I have read all semester. I have always been fascinated by psychology, especially when it relates to mental illness. The fact that the entire field of medicine is unknown and different for each person is what makes mental illnesses so interesting. As a business major, I currently plan to become a pharmaceutical sales representative, since science is not my strongest field.

In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the protagonist seems to suffer from a form of depression that slowly leads to psychosis and an eventual implied suicide. Gilman, known for her feminist tendencies, chooses to portray the narrator as a woman who is forced to rely on her husband. This is representative of the era in which this story was written, where depression could be cured by isolation and women were not allowed to write.

Today, advances in medicine and psychiatry have remanded the cure for depression and other mental illnesses, instead opting to treat the patient with a mixture of drugs and therapy. It is interesting to consider what would have happened to the narrator if she had been given this kind of treatment. The reader knows she enjoys writing and appears to be proficient, especially considering she was a woman. The narrator may have penned something that changed the world. Instead, she was banned from pursuing her passion and forced to become almost a child again; without free will or the ability to take care of herself. “The Yellow Wallpaper” makes me feel grateful that I was born in an era where women are more equal than men and mental illnesses are treated with the attention they deserve. 

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wallpaper." American Gothic Tales. Ed. Joyce
C. Oates. New York: Penguin Group, 1996. 52-64. Print.

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