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Yellow Wallpaper And Postpartum Depression

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Postpartum Depression

In the short story. "The Yellow Wallpaper" written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, we are introduced to a woman, the narrator, who suffers from postpartum depression, a disorder in women that results from childbirth. This disorder can have serious effects on the individual and may result in extreme behaviors such as suicide. (Mahoney 1) The narrator of the story is symbolic of Gilman, as she had experienced this illness after the birth of her daughter. (Gilman 181) Postpartum depression is a serious issue that must be dealt with in order to help its victums carry on with everyday life. In order for society to effictively help those affected with postpartum depression, they must know what it is, what its symptoms are, and effective ways to treat the disorder.

Postpartum depression is defined as "a treatable medical illness charterized by feelings of sadness, indifference, exhaustion, and anxiety following the birth of a child." (Postpartum Depression) These characteristics may result from varying circumstances surrounding the mother and child, such as low income or the father leaving, or can result from the mothers physical or mental condition prior to the birth. (Mahoney 1) It is very commmon among all women, as about 1 out of every 10 will suffer from this depression. (Postpartum Depression) In the United States, it is estimated that about 700,000 women will undergo postpartum depression each year. (Bennett and Indman 17) With such a high rate of occurrences

medical fields have done extensive studies and have determined many factors or symptoms that are used when diagnosing this depression.

There are many forms of symptoms that can be examined in order to diagnose this illness. Many include uncontrollable crying, feelings of sadness, exhaustion, irritability, anger, and many emotional aspects such as thoughts of guilt, hopelessness, and even suicide. (Postpartum Depression) In the short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper" these symptoms are displayed within the narrator through choice of words and sentences that she writes down. "I get unreasonable angry with John sometimes," (Gilman 183) "I get positively angry with the impertinence of it and the everlastingness,"(Gilman 185) "It makes me tired to follow it. I will take a nap I guess," (Gilman 186) and "I cry at nothing, and cry most of the time." (Gilman 186) are examples of quotes that make reference to her symptoms of the illness. Since the narrator is left alone for most of the day, she allows her mind to go wild with fantasies and is forced to deal with her thoughts by herself.

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