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The Yellow Wallpaper A Descent Into Madness In the nineteenth century women in literature were often portrayed as submissive to men Literature of the period often characterized women as oppressed by society as well as by the male influences in their lives The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman presents the tragic story of a womans descent into depression and madness because of this oppression The narrators declining mental health is reflected through the characteristics of the house she is trapped in and her husband while trying to protect her is actually destroying her The narrator of the story goes with her doctorhusband to stay in a colonial mansion for the summer The house is supposed to be a place where she can recover from sever postpartum depression According to Jennifer Fleissner naturalist characters like the narrator of Gilmans The Yellow Wallpaper is shown obsessed with the details of an entrapping interiority In such an example we see naturalisms clearest alteration of previous understandings of gender its refiguration of domestic spaces and hence domestic identity according to the narrative of repetitive work and compulsion that had once served to distinguish public life from a sentimentary understood home Fleissner 59 The Yellow Wallpaper is a fictionalized account of Charlotte Perkins Gilmans own postpartum depression Gilman was a social critic and feminist who wrote prolifically about the necessity of social and sexual equality particularly about womens need for economic independence According to critic Valarie Gill Gilman attached the nineteenth centurys configuration of private space as womans domain and its attendant generalizations about femininity Gilman seeks to blur the distinction between private and public life Gilman unflaggingly urged her audience to consider their logic in assigning women to the home The composition of home life altered radically between the beginning and final decades of the nineteenth century 17 The narrator loves her baby but knows she is not able to
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