ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

An Examination of "The Yellow Wallpaper" Gender Inequality and Lack of Psychological Knowledge

Updated on March 11, 2018

So, Whats the Story?

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper", demonstrates the struggle of being a woman during the 19th century. The basis of all problems for women was the lack of respect they received due to gender inequality. This ultimately lead to the speaker's psychotic break, as her husband failed to treat her mental illness properly since he did not take her seriously and most likely was not properly educated on mental illness.


"The Yellow Wallpaper"

Mental illness... It's no joke!

Not only were women seen as a joke during this time period, but so was mental illness. The speaker suffered from Postpartum Depression, after having her baby, and her husband (a doctor) says that the best thing for her illness is to isolate her self and do nothing. He ignores her hallucinations, thinking they will go away but instead she turns sneaky and her mental state continues to decline.

There was not much knowledge on mental illness during this century, which made some skeptical that it even existed. However, for those that did believe, they could not distinguish a mental illness from "normal" female hormonal behavior, and hadn't the slightest clue on how to treat it. While reading Amy Huddock's analysis of "The Yellow Wallpaper", she emphasis the gender inequality, and how psychologists aided in the belief that women were inferior.

" Noted psychologists detailed theories that “proved” women’s developmental immaturity, low cognitive skills, and emotional instability. Physicians, who actually had little knowledge of the inner workings of the female body, presented complex theories arguing that the womb created hysteria and madness, that it was the source of women’s inferiority. "

— Amy Huddock

Wrong Diagnoses or Wrong Treatment?

Seeing that the speaker did not get better, it leads to the question on whether she was diagnosed with the correct mental illness or if she was prescribed the wrong course of treatment.

I've taken multiple courses in Psychology and am currently in school, aiming to be a Psychiatrist. There are many examples and studies on Postpartum Depression, which is depression that is activated after pregnancy, and they seem to match up with the speakers symptoms and results. Unfortunately, since this still is not a mental illness that is taken seriously and can be hard to detect, their are examples of what happens when it goes to far. Postpartum Depression can lead to a psychosis and violent behavior. There have been cases of mothers trying to hurt their children because the psychosis allows for delusions and hallucinations to skew their judgement.

Based on this information, I think it is safe to say she was diagnosed properly, but had the wrong treatment. Her husband ignored her and disrespected her, calling her pet names and belittle her and her creative ideas, which only helped her decline.

The Difference

Source

Time Era leads to Error

In order to understand and analyze this story further, I read "The Yellow Wallpaper, mental illness and its treatment". As mentioned in its title, this article from Litcharts.com is an analysis of the mental illness portrayed in "Yellow Wallpaper". The author describes husband, John, as a traditional attitude model towards mental illness during the time.Unfortunately, the way the speaker's husband reacts to her mental illness, was normal for the time era, as suggested by the Litcharts article.

So how's it end?

This story seems to follow some truth to the time, putting emphasis on gender inequality and lack of knowledge regarding mental illness, so naturally it ends with some truth as well.

As I mentioned before, when Postpartum Depression goes untreated it can lead to a psychosis with dangerous results. This is exactly what happens to the speaker. She continues to hallucinate, seeing a woman in the yellow wallpaper behind bars. This woman represents the speaker being trapped, so eventually the speaker hits full psychosis and hurts her husband in order to escape.

If her husband, John, had been fully educated on Postpartum Depression, and had any respect for his wife, this result could have been preventable. However, much like in the 19th century reality, women were "inferior", and mental illness was ignored.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)