A Critical Analysis of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wall-Paper-.
"The Yellow Wall-Paper,"" a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, was published in 1892, a time when a woman was supposed to be seen and not heard. According to Short Stories for Students Gilman was not only a prominent feminist but also a radical social thinker at the turn of the century (SSS. 277).The theme of the short story is the social imprisonment of womankind. Gilman develops the theme by using allegories, first-person point of view, and imagery to tell her work of fiction.
"The Yellow Wall-Paper- is often considered Gilman's "masterpiece."" (Kirszner & Mandell, 2001) On the surface, the short story appears to be about a woman who is ill and is being taken care of by her adoring husband, John. Which according to the Short Stories for Students, John is a doctor that strongly believes in the rest cure that was "developed by real-life neurologist Dr. S. Weir Michell- (SSS, 279) The rest cure was for women that were suffering from a condition known as hysteria. It required the person to have complete bed rest and not do any mentally active activities. As hard as her poor husband tries to help her, he unknowingly drives her mad. However, Kirszaner and Mandell says that the author is actually using a literary element known as allegory, which has two parallel and consistent levels of meaning (Kirzaner & Mandell. 168). As the reader looks deeper into the story, he or she realizes that the plot is about a husband who is desperately trying to control his wife. .
On the surface, "The Yellow Wall-Paper,"" appears to be about a new mother suffering from a nervous disorder. The new mother is instructed to abandon her intellectual life and avoid stimulating company. The mother sinks into a still-deeper depression invisible to her husband, who believes he knows what is best for her. Alone in the yellow-wallpapered nursery of a rented house, she descends into madness.