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Insanity in “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Stetson

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Insanity in “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Stetson

Category: Essay

Subcategory: Art

Level: College

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Insanity and depression can be considered the cornerstones of The Yellow Wallpaper. The story starts with a woman, the narrator, who has recently moved with his husband to a big rented house while theirs is being repaired. From the beginning, the narrator states she has not been feeling quite well, and her husband, a physician, does not believe there is a problem with her (Stetson 647). To him, his wife’s problem is caused by a “temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency.” (648). Hence, he prescribed rest and little to none physical exercise. This is the first clue we receive regarding the narrators psychical state. She is clearly distressed, and those so-called hysterical tendencies can be much more, probably a sign of depression. However, at that point, it would be impossible to consider her insane. On the contrary, she seems distressed, and the lack of movement, along with the nature of her accommodation slowly worsens her condition. Likewise, throughout the story, the room’s yellow wallpaper becomes an object of her obsession, fueling her fantasies and hallucinations. In the midst of her hallucinations, she can even see the wallpaper moving, as if someone did it, and she begins investigating it. “I have discovered something at last. Through watching so much at night, when it changes so, I have finally found out. The front pattern does move – and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it!” (654). It is then when the woman’s descent to madness becomes…

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