Essay on “The Yellow Paper”: A Gothic Novel

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Initially, “The Yellow Paper” was understood as a gothic horror story (Gilman .648). When the spouse comes at the door, the narrator is portrayed as having removed all of the wallpaper in her room and creeping about. After hearing her remark that she is free by releasing herself, her spouse faints. Gilman is said to have suffered from depression while married to Stetson in the narrative (Gilman .648). Furthermore, she is said to have undergone unconventional therapy for the depression she was suffering from. The experience is thus, attributed to have a significant influence inspiration to the writing of the story. In addition, the narrator has been observed to argue that her husband who also happens to be her doctor belittles her illness. The paper seeks to utilize disability study perception in describing “The Yellow Wallpaper” story.

Disability in the Society

Disability would be defined as a form of health issue that affects one’s ability to perform day to day activities (Linton .520). The concept of disability has been described to take different forms such as mental and physical. Individuals experiencing physical disability were described to be hidden in early days. However, in modern times disabled persons have been recognized on a worldwide platform (Garland-Thomson .522). Majority of governments across the world have established and implemented laws that govern disability cases. Moreover, other organizations not affiliated to the government have also been described to establish programmes that cater for disabled persons in the society. Awareness has been created on a large scale towards identifying and helping disabled people.

Mental health however, continues to be a large challenge across different societies. Majority of people suffering from mental health challenges tend to deny their situations. Mental health challenges have been described not obviously visible. However, the challenges tend to have serious consequences on individuals experiencing them. For example, depression has been observed to be among the most mental health challenge being experienced. Individuals experiencing the challenge do not always realize it thus, posing significant threat to them and other people surrounding them. Therefore, more awareness should be created in the society in order to help individuals experiencing mental health challenges to access professional help.

Women’s Health

The story has been described mostly to be centred on health issues surrounding majority of women in the society. The story tends to describe concepts of motherhood, mental health issues and their treatment, gender relations and feminism in early days. The narrator uses her own health crisis in delivering the main theme of the story. Gilman experiences mental health challenge which is attributed to the loss of her child (Gilman .652). The husband takes her to a retreat as a mechanism of facilitating her recovery. The narrator’s mental health issue in the story has been diagnosed as temporary nervous depression.

The most common treatment given to majority of patients with similar challenges has been identified as rest. Therefore, the husband prescribes rest as a way of ensuring she recovers from her challenge. However, her rest has been constrained to numerous activities where she not allowed to participate in any form of activity that stimulates intellectual abilities. The narrator experiences discomfort during the prescribed recovery process since the house she is confined in is described as being isolated which is not good for her treatment. The bedroom has also been described to be intimidating where windows are barred and the bed being bolted on the floor. The wallpaper in the room has been described to play a crucial role in the story. The wallpaper has been observed to be repellent and unclean with flamboyant patterns. In addition, most of her time she is alone in the house.

Majority of women in the society have also been described to experience nervous exhaustion as a result of stress (Berube .570). During the early days physicians prescribed main reason for experiencing the condition as being biological weakness as well as reproductive cycles. The women would therefore, be susceptible to both mental health breakdown and ill health. Moreover, women identified to be creative were and ambitious were described to be at bigger risks. Therefore, Gilman’s husband restricted her from engaging in activities such as writing that involved application of intellectual abilities. The most common treatment during the early days involved quietening the nervous system that led to restoration of patient’s strength.

The “rest cure” as commonly known was prescribed to Gilman which involved regular feeding and ordered rest as done for infants. However, the wallpaper has been described in the story to have a vicious influence. The narrator decides to tear down the wallpaper when her husband is absent. On arriving her husband is shocked wondering whether she had finally recovered or lost her mind due to the questions she asks. The wallpaper has been identified to represent challenges experienced by ambitious women.

In conclusion, the narrator in her story tends to describe challenges experienced by women identified as ambitious in the society. Her husband has been described to neglect her welfare through confining her in a house with strict regulations such as not engaging in intellectual activities. Patients suffering from any mental health challenges should be given all support required in order to enhance their recovery. However, the narrator like many women does not receive the assistance required. However, the narrator decides to tear down the wallpaper as a form of making her own decisions.

Works Cited

Berube, Michael. “Disability and Narrative”. (2005)

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. "Disability and representation." Pmla 120.2 (2005): 522-527.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wall-Paper and Other Stories. Oxford University Press, USA, 1998.

Linton, Simi. "What is disability studies?." PMLA 120.2 (2005): 518-522.

October 07, 2021




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