“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman is a novel of a woman`s deep depression caused by the birth of her child, which is followed by a descent to insanity. Without a doubt, the book illustrates women’s struggle in the society. Heroine’s obsession with the yellow wallpaper in her room reflects her anger and abhorrence towards a community. As such, the community presents men in a more respectful way as compared to the female counterparts.
The book is based on real events in the author`s life. As such, the author “suffers from severe nervous breakdown that tends to melancholia” (Gilman). Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, a physician, is responsible for treating her depression, whose attempts are futile. Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell serves as an inspiration to Gilman. That narrator rests as she bounds herself to change the living condition that eventually leads to her mental disorder.
As the narrator crosses the room’s threshold, she discerns the ugly yellow wallpaper and does not want to sleep in the room. The patriarchal model of the American society presents the women as prisoners in the men-dominated society. Consequently, the “rest cure” is offered to her with the free time she needs to think over the oppression in a male-dominated community. The cure that she needs is human interaction in comparison to the imprisoned life that she faces.
Her husband, John, is a physician, who promotes Dr. Weir Mitchell’s idea that his wife is in depression, and she needs to rest. John represents a traditional and subconscious mindset, which puts women lower than men in a social structure; due to this, John is an oblivious oppression creator. Author is illustrating the influence that John has over the narrator. As an example, he rejects his wife`s desire to write and create. John`s permanent control of his wife`s actions makes us pay attention to the morality of his behavior. The narrator notices yellow wallpaper that covers the room where she lies. She can see an image under it as the wallpaper is partially torn. During the day, the she observes women “creeping” outside it. At night, women in society are free as they are not watched by men. In the other cases, they will be mad, fragile, or fickle. When John returns back home, he finds his wife mad, crawling around the room. This scene symbolizes that men will fall from the top of a social structure and women will achieve equality, otherwise, they will be dead.
Gilman uses the story to make statements about individuality and feminism taking the reader through the terrors of being a woman. The author is focusing attention on the women`s everlasting difficulties in a constantly patriarchal community. She calls feminist reader for mobilization and demands the society to get rid of the remnants of the past and breaks up with the old patriarchal traditions.
The cultural perspectives are complex in the various means that interpret the possibility of a breakdown. On the other hand, there is a stereotype of a submissive female. As such, the heroine is like an image of a silent woman that converses behind her husband.