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Oppression and Depression in The Yellow Wallpaper

5 Pages 1225 Words July 2019

Imagine you are in a room - a very dull room, without a television, computer, or books. In this room, there is just a bed, a single window, and the most peculiar, yellow, and melancholic wallpaper. Now imagine being locked in that room for months at a time, rarely coming out. The narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper”, written by author Charlotte Perkins Gillman, is put in this type of situation. In Gillman’s short story the narrator struggles with being belittled by her husband while he ignores her mental health, which he is supposed to be treated, as he is, after all, a physician. At the beginning of her journal entries, the narrator seems both believable and sane, but as the story continues, the reader realizes that she is unreliable. However, in the end of her journal entries, the structure portrays and further characterizes the narrator’s mental disorder. Through the revelations portrayed in the narrator’s journal entries, the reader is allowed an intimate view of the narrator’s gradual mental breakdown. Moral, emotional, intellectual, and physical conflicts can be located within this story, raising further concern regarding difficulties in treating, as well as incorrect treatment of mental illness. To decipher whether or not the narrator was oppressed or depressed would be a difficult thing to do, as both oppression, forced upon the narrator from external conflicts, and depression, secondary to external conflicts, is blatantly obvious throughout this short story.
Oppression is defined as “to burden with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints; subject to a burdensome or harsh exercise of authority or power” (Oppression). The narrator begins to talk about her husband, John, and how he is a physician in high standing and does not believe she is sick, which is the one reason, she believes, she is not getting better. John has her on phosphates and tonics and has her exercise and get air. He does not allow her to work or...

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