The Yellow Wallpaper Essay
“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a narrative that was composed by American author Charlotte Perkins Gilman and was released in 1892. The story is told through the journal entries of a woman who is restricted to her bed room in order to cure her “slight hysterical tendency.” Although this treatment was well intended by her physician husband, due to her seclusion and lack of psychological stimulation the lady’s mindset steadily degrades until completion of the story when she goes totally insane.
In order to better comprehend this story it is practical to examine it through the lenses of the 7 schools of literary criticism that include, formalist, biographical, historical, reader-response, deconstructionist, mental, and gender criticisms. From a formalist perspective, among the most essential things to note about this short story is how it is composed from the entries in the narrator’s secret journal, which she keeps hidden from her hubby. The outcome of this diary-like building and construction makes the story appear practically autobiographical despite the fact that the storyteller is a fictional character.
Due to the fact that of this, everything is relayed in a really personal method and provides an in depth view of the narrator and her feelings. The reader gets really little details about other characters and there is an intense focus on the narrator and the inner functions of her mind as her frame of mind progressively declines. While formalists argue that there is one true meaning that can be derived from the official qualities of the text, deconstructionists argue that as time passes, the significances of words change and hence the meaning of the text also changes. One word whose significance has altered since the writing of this piece is “worried. The author appears to use this word as meaning an affliction or health problem. Back in the 19th century, the word anxious appears most regularly attributed to females as if it is an inescapable attribute of the female nature. Today these same connotations do not exist and therefore a deconstructionist would argue that the significance of this text has changed. On the other hand with the deconstructionist style of criticism, which concentrates on the text, biographical criticism concentrates on the author of the piece and their experiences and motivations in order to understand a work of iterature. The inspirations behind the “The Yellow Wallpaper” become noticeably clear when the author’s background is exposed. Charlotte Perkins Gilman composed this piece in 1892, quickly after her own comparable bout of mental illness. In her explanation of why she composed “The Yellow Wallpaper,” she discusses that after being recommended the rest remedy, she “came so near the borderline of utter mental destroy that [she] might see over. She also describes that much of her reason for writing this short story was to attempt to conserve individuals from the fate she directly left and the same fate that the narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper” ultimately came down with. Comparable to the biographical technique of criticism, gender criticism also concentrates on the author’s background, particularly the elements associating with his/her gender. The fact that Charlotte Perkins Gilman resided in the 19th century has a great deal of effect on her writing. She resided in a time when society was primarily male controlled and females had few rights.
Her experience with mental disorder was likewise strongly affected by her gender. Similar to the narrator’s experiences, a male physician prescribed Gilman the rest treatment, which wound up doing more damage than great. This was a time when females were stereotyped as fragile, weak, anxious, ridiculous, and were typically not taken seriously. Medical professionals did not comprehend postpartum depression during this time period and thought that it was a “short-lived nervous depression” or “a small hysterical tendency” which they thought were just attributes of the female nature.
The historical technique of criticism focuses on the historical context of the story. As the previous paragraph goes over, this narrative was written in the 19th century when postpartum anxiety was not understood and women had couple of rights. This is the historic background of Gilman’s life and writing of “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Gilman composed this story at a time when the “rest cure” was a real medical treatment that was being applied to many females, the majority of whom experienced it. When this piece was first released a number of Gilman’s contemporaries were surprised.
One doctor composed that “such a story ought not to be written, it was enough to drive anybody mad to read it.” Similar to biographical and gender criticism, the mental school of criticism concentrates on the author, however also takes a look at the readers and the characters of the story. This technique of criticism checks out psychology to uncover the significance in the story. “The Yellow Wallpaper” would have lots of interest for mental critics. Both the narrator and the author experienced severe postpartum depression, which when it comes to the narrator, progressed into full-blown insanity.
The last of the schools of criticism is the reader-response criticism, which studies the readers due to the fact that without the reader, a text has no significance. Numerous contemporary readers, for example, most likely feel sympathy for this storyteller because they have a better understanding of the illness that she was experiencing. Readers who lived when “The Yellow Wallpaper” was very first released would have probably had a much different reaction to this story. From Gilman’s piece on why she wrote the story, it is clear that her story did was not well gotten by lots of people due to its stunning and troubling nature.
I think that without a doubt the most crucial school of literary criticism for interpreting “The Yellow Wallpaper” would be the biographical technique of criticism. A lot of the narrative was influenced by Gilman’s own experiences with the rest remedy and mental illness that it is nearly vital to know about her background in order to understand this piece. Historic criticism and gender criticism are likewise extremely important but I believe the biographical technique encapsulates all of them because when attempting to comprehend the author one should undoubtedly factor in the impacts of their gender and the time in which they lived and composed.