There are many fiction and non-fiction where the theme of oppression has been observed. The Victorian and the modern age witnessed a lot of oppression faced by women. The societal oppression led to the isolation and exclusion of an individual. The essay concentrates on the factor of isolation faced by the protagonist in the yellow wall paper. Her isolation was the result of the societal oppression.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman composed the character of a woman who was a wife and a mother in her fiction named, ‘The Yellow Wall Paper’. The protagonist was suffering from depression disorder. She was the victim of the oppressions of the society (Pinsent, Helen). She was excluded from any kind of social participation and was rather locked up in a room. Her husband was a doctor and he thought this was the best way to treat a patient of depression. The protagonist was a victim of the male domination. In spite of that she tried to find some in that male dominated society. Her sickness increased day by day and she was developed an obsessive attachment towards the yellow wall paper that was there on the wall of the room where she was locked. She was termed as a mad woman. The difference between insane and mad was not marked in the fiction. Her sister-in-laws even termed her level of depression as the activity of a mad woman (Lemert, Charles).
According to the author she was termed mad by the standards of the society. The woman did not have the space to share anything about her sickness to her husband. Once when she told about the wall paper to her husband, he laughed at her. She did not get the space to share anything with her husband as she was mocked and laughed at by her husband. Her husband simply made fun of her when she told her about the wallpaper. It was the oppression of the patriarchy. The male oppression was more prevalent in the fiction when there were more instances where the other males in the fiction prescribed the same rest cure therapy. The author disagreed with the suggestion of the male characters (Grossman, Julie).
The author in this fiction not only shows the restraint and confinement of the protagonist but she also portrayed the confinement of the females in the American Society during that time period. The process of rest cure was making the patients more insane and they were detached and excluded from the society. This made them more depressed and the oppression was increased to a greater level. It can be clearly stated that the oppression has been suffered not only by one such woman but by many other woman of the society. The oppression was applied to all the women in the American society of that age (Gale, Cengage).
The protagonist of the story did not find a good place in the life of her husband. She was not given a good position in the society. She suffered from isolation and the yellow wall paper was the only means of escape from the isolation. The room where she was locked as a tool of rest cure therapy was the only Place where she could find some peace. She was isolated from the entire world (Payne, Shannon.). The woman of the story was not only left alone but she was locked inside the room as a prisoner. The isolation that she suffered was the major cause of her sickness. This could have been cured in a more effective manner but her husband who as her doctor thought the best treatment would be to lock her up inside the room and would ask her to tare rest. She was the mother of a child and in spite of this fact she was not even allowed to interact with her children. This condition was no less than a prison (Downey, Dara).
Apart from this the husband ensured the dependency of his wife in all matters. He ends up in taking all the decisions on her behalf. She suffered from male oppression when her husband took all the decisions for her. Her husband decided which room she will stay in and even to whom she will be allowed to meet and to whom she will be restricted to meet. The oppression seemed to grow further and the narrator of the story had no other option but to accept the oppression. The oppression towards the end grew to such a great level that she reached to the last level of depression and turned out to be insane in reality. This fact was evident in her behavior towards the end of the fiction when she was found crawling on the floor.
Downey, Dara. "Introduction." American Women’s Ghost Stories in the Gilded Age. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2014. 1-13.
Gale, Cengage Learning. A Study Guide for Charlotte Perkins Gilman's" Yellow Wallpaper". Gale Cengage Learning, 2016.
Grossman, Julie. "The Quiet Presence of “The Yellow Wallpaper” in Todd Haynes’s Film [Safe]." Literature, Film, and Their Hideous Progeny. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2015. 105-125.
Lemert, Charles, ed. Social theory: The multicultural, global, and classic readings. Westview Press, 2016.
Payne, Shannon. "Monstrous Maladies”: Oppression, Transgression, and Degeneration in The Picture of Dorian Gray and “The Yellow Wallpaper." (2017).
Pinsent, Helen. "Changing Janes:“The Yellow Wallpaper” as a Case of Dual Consciousness." Verso: An Undergraduate Journal of Literary Criticism (2017).