What is the underlying meaning of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”? I feel a strong desire to know more of what Gilman’s message was. I don’t see the strong connection between Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and post-partum. It is only because I was informed of the post-partum underlying information that I was able to make the connection. I find this story fascinating because this story comes into my life when I find myself being 6 months pregnant with my first child. When we read this class, I was taking birthing and parenting classes in which we spoke a lot about postpartum depression and I still wasn’t able to make the connection. I myself am doing everything I can to educate myself and my husband on the subject so that we can be prepared for after the birth of our first child. If knowledge is power I will do everything I can to not end up like the characters in “The Yellow Wallpaper”.
The question thus arises as to the exact meaning and motivation behind charlotte Perkins Gilman’s the yellow wallpaper. This is a very interesting book to say the least. It tells the story of a woman in confinement and her eventual delve into psychosis as a result of the confinement. In the book Jane is confined in a room by her husband who just so happens to be a physician. This element of confinement of Jane is very important in relating to the book or rather the mental state of Jane to that of women who have just experienced child birth for the very first time. In the book Jane is forbidden by her husband from working and is forced to spend her days in confinement, finding solace in nothing more than her journal which she also has to hide from her husband. This very situation relates to women who have just undergone childbirth and are by all means at risk of developing postpartum depression. The similarity comes in when taking into consideration the locomotive capabilities of Jane in the yellow wallpaper and juxtaposing it with that of women who have just undergone child birth. An element of confinement arises that tends to limit the physical motion of both of these concerned parties. In the case of Jane her immobility is caused by her husband who has confined her in a room. In the case of women who have just undergone child birth, their physical disposition is their main hindering factor as far as locomotion is concerned. Depending on exactly how the process of child birth goes, women can find themselves unable to move significant distances for several weeks preceding the child birth (poulin, p.53). An example is the situation where a woman is unable to give birth naturally and instead has to undergo a caesarean section. This is actually an operation aimed at saving both the life of the baby as well as the life of the mother. Such a procedure is often very necessary in a situation of child birth but can take its toll on the mother with reference to the exact amount of time she takes to recover. Thus, such a process can confine a mother into a room for weeks after child birth and in some cases even months. This is very similar to the physical disposition of Jane in the book the yellow wallpaper and her physical predicament that leads to her eventual mental state.
For this particular research paper it is also very important to analyze postpartum depression in the context of charlotte Perkins Gilman’s the yellow wallpaper. This is important because it more or less juxtapose women who have just undergone child birth to Jane in Gilman’s the yellow wallpaper. This actually places women who have just undergone child birth in the shoes of Jane in the yellow wallpaper in order to analyze the outcome on the mental state of these women and its relation, if any exists at all, to post-partum depression. Analysis of post-partum depression reveals clearly that one of its main causative factors is the lifestyle change that women experience as a result of child birth (poulin, p.66). Child birth is a laborious physical venture on women that also tends to take a social toll on the lifestyles of the women in question, often to the extent that they have to change integral aspects of their lives in order to cope with their new status of motherhood. A close look at Gilman’s yellow wallpaper clearly shows that this is more or less the case as far as Jane is concerned. Previously Jane was a free woman who used to roam about freely and openly. All this comes to a sudden end when her husband forces her into confinement with absolutely no chance at all of escape. Jane therefore experience a lifestyle change and at a rather drastic rate. She is suddenly forced to abandon all previous activities that she used to partake in and is instead forced into confinement with absolutely nothing of interest to do. This sudden lifestyle change that Jane in the yellow wallpaper experiences correlates to the lifestyle change for which women who have just undergone child birth experience. Just like Jane, these women are forced to suddenly abandon activities that they used to take part in previously before their child birth. There is an element of seclusion that comes about as a result of the sudden change in lifestyle that leads these women right into post-partum depression. This shock clearly correlates to that experienced by Jane in the yellow wallpaper that eventually led to her mental breakdown and her plunge into psychosis.
The exact mental state of Jane in Gilman’s yellow wallpaper also comes into question in this research paper. This mental condition comes into question with reference to how it relates to that of women who have just undergone child birth. In order to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion it is very important to document and clearly outline Jane’s exact mental condition and how it correlates to that of women who have just undergone child birth and are on the verge of plunging right into post-partum depression. In the yellow wallpaper, Jane finds herself with absolutely nothing to stimulate her (gilman, p.12). The only thing that she can locate that s of interest to her is the yellow wallpaper. Jane connects to this wallpaper and it grows to be her only source of stimulation. It is, however, very important to analyze exactly how Jane connects and relates to this wallpaper. The wallpaper reminds Jane of all the yellow things she has seen previously n her life. The interesting part is the exact things that the wallpaper reminds Jane of. According to the yellow wallpaper, the wallpaper reminds Jane not of the pleasant yellow things that she had seen and experienced in her life such as yellow buttercups but rather foul yellow things. Jane is able to connect with the yellow wallpaper but on a very negative level and this hastens her plunge into psychosis. This particular revelation is very important in terms of analyzing the relationship between Gilman’s the yellow wallpaper and post-partum depression. One of the major causes of post-partum depression is that women who have just undergone child birth tend to associate it with all of its negative aspects. These negative aspects include the pain that comes as a result of child birth. We arrive at a situation where a woman who has just undergone child birth is fully unable to look past the negatives of the experience (poulin, p.73). This woman only focuses on the pain and the other negative aspects that resulted from the process such as weight gain. This is clearly a recipe for post-partum depression for the woman in question. This is because the woman is unable to move on with her life in light of what she has experienced from the onset of her pregnancy right to child birth.
It is not easy to decipher the deeper meaning behind Gilman’s the yellow wallpaper. A deeper analysis of the main character Jane, however, reveals the relationship between the book and post-partum depression. Jane’s lifestyle changes and lack of stimulation are the main factors that led to her eventual mental state. These are very similar to the factors that lead to depression in women who have just given birth. A clear relationship can therefore be established between Gilman’s the yellow wallpaper and post-partum depression.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. the yellow wallpaper. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2000. Print.
Poulin, Sandra. The mother-to-mother postpartum depression support book: real stories from women who lived through it and recovered. Berkeley trade pbk. ed. New York: Berkley Books, 2006. Print.