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The book “The Yellow Wallpaper” was written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It was first published in 1892 and since that time, the book is regarded as the author’s best work of short fiction. This story is a first-person tale of a young mother’s mental worsening. It is based on Gilman’s own experience with postpartum dejection.

The main character is a woman who is not allowed to read, to write, or even to see her newborn baby. She lives with her child, her husband John, who is her physician at the same time, and her sister-in-law in a rented summerhouse. This house was not repaired and dwelled for many years. The whole story is revolved around the yellow wallpaper, which first frightens the narrator, but then becomes her passion and desire. Even the smell of the house is yellow, just like this wallpaper.

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However, what elements of the story belong to gothic fiction? What particular features make it become a part of this genre? First, the main character settled in the long empty “ancestral estate”, which reminds of typical gothic surroundings. In gothic tradition, the story is told from a first-person narrative. The reader learns about the life and thoughts through the woman’s journal.

As for feministic notes, Gilman’s way to portray the main character’s insanity is to protest against the medical and professional subjugation of women at the time. The main character is afraid both of the horror she sees in the wallpaper and of her husband. She fears the way he treats her and his further actions:” John says if I don't pick up faster he shall send me to Weir Mitchell in the fall. But I don't want to go there at all. I had a friend who was in his hands once, and she says he is just like John and my brother, only more so!” Modern feminist critics see the triumph at the end of the story. When one sees the woman slipped into insanity, another one may consider the finale of the tale as a woman’s assertion of freedom in a marriage she felt trapped.

“The Yellow Wallpaper”, despite its wonderful and frightening gothic plot, will continue to be discussed in feminine terms – and rightly so. If people read and understand the insanity in Gilman’s story, it will be possible to prevent such psychic horrors in future.

Code: writers15

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