ï»¿"Madness: The True Sanity in ˜The Yellow Wallpaper' ".
"The Yellow Wallpaper " by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a story depicting a woman's dissent into madness. Gilman recounts the experiences of a woman who is suffering from postpartum depression while being treated with the same methods prescribed by famous 19th century physician, S. Weir Mitchell. Gilman conveys her concerns over these methods by following the consequences Mitchell's "rest cure " has on the female narrator. The narrator complies with the orders of her physician-husband John who maintains that the only way to overcome her illness is with complete rest and the suspension of her work as a writer, like Mitchell's methods suggest. Annette Kolodny, a feminist literary critic and current professor at the University of Arizona, explains being "isolated from conversational exchanges " combined with "prohibited free access to pen and paper" causes "the [narrator] of ˜The Yellow Wallpaper' to experience the extreme extrapolation of those linguistic tools to the processes of perception and response " (Kolodny, 156). That is, through following her husband's plan that stifles her creativity, the narrator actually delves deeper into madness because it allows her to become more perceptive to her oppressive reality. Yet, this journey into madness is not completely detrimental to the narrator's state like some may assume, because it allows her to escape from the patriarchy oppressive forces that imprison her. Seen through the progression of her journal entries in which "The Yellow Wallpaper " is told, the narrator transforms from being obedient, oblivious and nervous and becomes assertive, aware, and ultimately insane. Once she begins to interpret and uncover the symbolic order contained in the wallpaper, her descriptions not only suggest that the wallpaper is representation of her stifling reality, but also a potential means for her liberation.