The Yellow Wall Paper Study of Insanity Essay

This essay has a total of 650 words and 4 pages.

The Yellow Wall Paper Study of Insanity





A Study of Insanity

The "Yellow Wallpaper," is a personal account of the author's, Charlotte Perkins Gilman,
struggle with depression. It vividly documents one woman's experience with depression and
the toil she endured through the treatment of the "Rest Cure." The story helps readers to
get a mental picture of how society and solitary confinement can both drive a person into
sheer madness.

In the story, the narrator has just given birth to a child and is experiencing, what we
call today, Post Partum Depression. With this in mind, her husband has decided to put her
to rest for the summer. He confines her to a room that resembles more of a jail cell than
a bedroom, and refuses to allow her to work for, " …with my imaginative power and habit
of story making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited
fancies…" (Gilman, Par 61) Though this is meant to alleviate the condition and help the
narrator to return to the role of mother and wife, it quickly becomes worse than the
disease itself.

As her imprisonment continues, the narrator becomes more and more unable to exercise
dominion over her mind. She finds solace in her surroundings and becomes increasingly
obsessed with the yellow wallpaper in her bedroom.


"…the pattern is torturing. You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well
underway in following, it turns back-somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the
face knocks you down, and tramples upon you. It is like a bad dream." (Gil, Par. 145)


Though, at first she had immediate dislike for the wallpaper describing it as, "One of
those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin." (Gilman, Par. 35)

The paper does, indeed, begin to fascinate her and she becomes more engrossed in
uncovering its secrets. Eventually it becomes the center of her life and her only concern,
and she spends days and nights concentrating her thoughts on the patterns and the figures
that lay beneath it.


"But in the places where it isn't faded and where the sun is just so- I can
see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems to skulk about
behind that silly and conspicuous front design." (Gilman, Pars. 80-81)
Continues for 2 more pages >>