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The Yellow Wallpaper

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Autor: 24  •  December 8, 2010  •  729 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,192 Views

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Two things can be derived from the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper", that being Jane, the main character in this story, is either suffering from postpartum psychotic delirium, or directly confronting the sexual politics of the male/female, husband/wife relationship. The to articles that argue these ideas are "Monumental feminism and literature's ancestral house: Another look at "The Yellow wallpaper," written by Janice Haney-Peritz, as well as " Too Terribly Good to Be Printed": Charlotte Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper", written by Conrad Shumaker. These articles will argue that Jane suffered from sever postpartum depression which resulted in inevitable psychosis, as well as Jane's writings in her diary paint a picture of the feminist movement for which Gilman was known for writing "with a purpose." What relates both of these articles is the ability to relate to one another in the fact that those who read this short story gain a feeling of morbidity.

One such account of such morbidity towards "The Yellow Wallpaper" comes from an anonymous doctor who in an 1892 letter stated that such morbidity in a short story should be censured, as well as Horace Scudder who wrote a letter to Gilman which exclaimed how miserable this story has made him and how he had no choice but to not publish her story. And with that the similarities cease. Peritz writes about the relationship between Jane and her husband John, stating that John all to calmingly tells Jane repeatedly that's she is well and all she needs is nice long rest, moderate exercise, and healthy eating. This introduces the idea that John not only being the "man" in the marriage, as well as a doctor, believes he knows best and will control the situation as a result. With this, it leaves Jane feeling as if she is locked "behind bars," as well as contributing to the other imaginary "symbols."

On the other end of the spectrum Shumaker argues that "the Yellow Wallpaper" is simple archiving the slow decent into psychosis. Shumaker states " Gilman, an avowed feminist and a relative to Harriett Beecher Stowe, told (William Dean) Howells that she didn't consider the work to be "literature" at all, that everything she wrote was for a purpose," in this case pointing out the dangers of a particular medical treatment popular in the late 1800s.This medical treat being "rest cure" which was practiced and more suited for the business-type husband and the socialite wife, simply put the "rest cure" would only treat the physical problems that are attributed to fatigue and not something as serious as Jane's condition,


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