"The Yellow Wallpaper"

Essay by Snow19University, Bachelor'sA+, October 2005

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"The Yellow Wallpaper": A Fuming Relationship or What?

"The Yellow Wallpaper", begins with the central character, Jane, who has just given birth to a baby boy. Even though for most mothers a newborn child is a merry time, for some, like Jane, it becomes a tiresome disturbing period that is now popularly understood to be the common disorde; postpartum depression. For example, Jane describes herself as feeling a "lack of strength" (Gilman, 3) and as becoming "dreadfully fretful and querulous" (Gilman, 25). Additionally, she says, "I cry at nothing and cry most of the time" (Gilman, 23).

Nevertheless, as the term postpartum depression was not in the language of this time period, John, Jane's husband and doctor, has diagnosed Jane as suffering from "temporary nervous depression a slight hysterical tendency" (Gilman, 36) It may be more precise to view the symptoms she develops later in the story--visual hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and conditions that, prior to the birth of her son, were restrained or in control.

The birth of her son precipitated an altercation with John and became a means of her psychosis.

Until the very last few lines of the story, Jane herself is unnamed. This nonexistence relates with the invalid reason that she has in the place at which a non-psychotic person would have a relation to the Husband or Father. In addition, even though her name ultimately is revealed, it is, in real meaning, a no name: Jane, as in Jane Doe, as in unnamed, without the past or associations of any sort.

Sideways from Jane's mystery, there are other indications that Jane does not fit into the wife or mother relationship. From the opening lines, Gilman makes it clear that the story is created in the world of a feminist. For example, Jane describes...