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Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” Essay (Article)


In the story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman uses several elements of Gothic fiction such as dreams, suspense, horror, and the supernatural. The setting of the story in an isolated location, on an estate that is debilitating, is often used in Gothic settings to create ghostly and scary tones. The story centers on two important themes, psychology and Gothic fiction, due to its highly exhaustive and psychologically thrilling account of depression and desolation. The incorporation of elements such as horror and suspense gives the story a Gothic feel.

The portrayal of the narrator’s plunge into madness and depression, resulting in abnormal behavior, marks it as a classic feminist Gothic tale. Gilman uses horror and suspense in the cautionary tale to demonstrate the effect of the supposed ‘rest cures’ on the mental state of a patient. The suspense surrounding the slow mental deterioration of the unnamed narrator of the story in a nursery provides scary tones. She glimpses some patterns and sub-patterns of a figure, which is “strange, provoking, formless” only in “certain lights” (Gilman, 488). The zenith of creepiness, horror, and suspense in the final scene is achieved when the narrator creeps and crawls along the floor on all her fours.

The ‘rest cure’ treatment was given to women in the 19th century as a way to treat postpartum depression. Women would be imprisoned for months and were not allowed to engage in intellectual activities like reading and had to practice restraint in physical and mental activity. However, with the advent of theories and therapies developed by Freud, Carl Jung, and Adler, there was a better understanding of the female hormonal system, and sensitive treatments were developed to cure postpartum depression. The Yellow Wallpaper describes the violation of the rights of women in the 19th century.

Bibliography

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. 1899. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2021, January 4). Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper". Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/charlotte-perkins-gilmans-the-yellow-wallpaper/

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"Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"." IvyPanda, 4 Jan. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/charlotte-perkins-gilmans-the-yellow-wallpaper/.

1. IvyPanda. "Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"." January 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/charlotte-perkins-gilmans-the-yellow-wallpaper/.


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IvyPanda. "Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"." January 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/charlotte-perkins-gilmans-the-yellow-wallpaper/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"." January 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/charlotte-perkins-gilmans-the-yellow-wallpaper/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"'. 4 January.

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