The articulation of thoughts and ideas, inherently possessed by every individual is vital for survival. To deny this possession and right of expression is equivalent to reducing a man’s social animal persona…
This is what Charlotte Perkins Gilman explained in her literary work in 1892, “The Yellow Wallpaper”. With her own personal experiences on this predicament, she narrated her poignant tale of suffering, depression and nervousness. She asserted that vitality can be achieved only when pent-up emotions are given the right of self-determination. In her case, or of her narrator, suppression of emotions and lack of mental stimulation jeopardized her sanity and further worsened her mental illness rather than curing it. The monotony in her life turned out to be detrimental in her psychological well-being. As aforementioned, a mind needs an outlet to express the imagination it holds. This imagination is meant to be projected and communicated. Hence, a simple idea existing in mind can provoke a reaction and convey it in a coherent, lucid form. Be it in a form of art, words, plain gestures or even attitude, these expressions are a form or a medium for communication. If this connection is held back, only trouble brews inside the mind without any release or escape. Without release, mind and body, both go in a state of helplessness and lunacy. And this is what the narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper” experienced. In her case, insanity took over because of her powerlessness to control her life. The constant reminder of not exhausting herself from any mental or physical work by her physician husband, John, situates her in a mental asylum. His patronizing attitude and lack of understanding about her feelings reduces their relationship into “...trust me as a physician?” (Gilman 278) one. Rather than interacting and understanding his wife’s problem, he abandons her to isolation of the house to cure her depression. Assuming that isolation from work and an idle mind would heal depression was actually not the right conjecture here. It’s because of this her imagination soars to new heights. With nothing worthy to do except stare at objects around her, she falls for the menacing yellow wallpaper in her bedroom. The horrid wallpaper then becomes her personal consolation and a subservient object of her undivided attention. She obsesses about discovering the intricate patterns and for the first time feels the thrill of the power to solve the enigmatic wallpaper patterns. The connection she feels after every discovery of the patterns is what excites her. This is how normally a sane person would react too. The need to express and share discoveries is ubiquitous and expressing one’s self or one’s perception is profound. Without self-expression, the communication process simply stops. The silence then becomes darkening and intimidating. And then eventually, the purpose of living easily succumbs to the black hole of nothingness. If this can disappoint a sane person, then the narrator of the “The Yellow Wallpaper” was already a victim of nervousness. The burgeoning desire to confront her problems permits her to discover means of expression. But the restrictions imposed on any mental and physical work shun her mental capability. This provokes her to find reprieve in keeping a secret diary. By jotting her feelings, she finds a relation with the ‘dead paper and a great relief to my mind’ (Gilman 272). As she figures that her insight on any mundane task isn’t appreciated or understood by any of her family member, she resorts to writing. It becomes her sole companion who without any questions listened to her whine about her ...
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