Charlotte Perkins Gilman/The Yellow Wallpaper

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A 6 page essay that discusses Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper," which continues to capture and fascinate the imagination of successive generations of readers, due to its harrowing story of a unnamed female protagonist's descent into insanity. The mental decline of Gilman's heroine is due to the fact that she undergoes a "rest cure" imposed on her by her well-intention, but tyrannical doctor/husband, John. Victorian society had a vested interest in maintaining the strict gender roles of the era, which included keeping women completely with the domestic sphere and accepting of a child-like role that was totally subservient to the authority of their husband. Gilman's story provides dramatic counterpoint to this social paradigm, as it indicates the damage that suppressing women's autonomy as fully-fledged adults can have on mental health. Bibliography lists 4 sources.