The Yellow Wallpaper

Prescription to Madness

The Victorian rest cure, a diagnosis set forth to upper class, white, Victorian women who were believed to be suffering from "hysteria", or "trauma related to an unsuccessful role adjustment" sought to instill in them a "childlike submission to masculine authority" (Ammons 35). Charlotte Perkins Gilman, herself a victim of the Victorian rest cure, utilizes within "The Yellow Wallpaper" her own experiences to exemplify the violence of achieving the Victorian ideal of femininity and the sacrifices necessary for a woman to avow her right to self-determination. Gilman's narrator, violently forced into absolute solitude, silence, and submission, must face the quagmire before her --- loyalty to her husband and societal perceptions of woman, or loyalty to her imagination, her intellect, and the piece of herself that she has objectified and projected into the wallpaper and that pleads for independence. Undoubtedly, loyalties lie to self. Thus, "The Yellow Wallpaper" depicts a woman affirming her right to her own authority while breaking free from the "violent process of feminization" (Ammons 35) that masculine authority has forced her to submit to.

The rest cure that...

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