Oppression of women: degradation

Marianna Wesolowski

How oppression effects the mental state of women: exploring the numerous results of oppression throughout "The Yellow Wall Paper" and life in the 1900s.

Throughout the 1900s, women suffered severe discrimination, which led to oppression due to being considered crazy and hysterical. This circumstance led doctors to diagnose the Rest Cure, which resulted in immense depression among women. This concept is significant because "The Yellow Wall Paper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman reveals the life of a women prescribed the Rest Cure. By understanding her predicament, it's easier to gain a developed understanding to what provoked her deteriorating mental state.

Topics Covered:

- Discrimination of women

-1900s Gender Roles

-Depression in the 1900s v. Now

-Rest Cure

-Gilman's use of Diction and Imagery to further bring forth the work

Discrimination of Women Due to Gender Roles in the 1900s

Gender Discrimination-the unequal treatment of a person based solely on that person's sex

*women were viewed as less meaningful in a family; smaller

*required to surrender control of property to their husband upon marriage

*Unable to participate in athletic programs

*Employment Discrimination

Gender Roles- a set of societal norms dictating what types of behaviors are acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for a person based on their sex

-"I meant to be such a help to John...nobody would believe what an effort it is to do what little I am able...to dress, and entertain, and order things." (Gilman 29)


* Powerful















*Emotional- susceptible to madness, and hysteria

-" I have a Scheduled prescription for each hour in the day; he takes all care for me.."

(Gilman 28)

Rest Cure and Depression Treatments in the 1900s v. Today

Rest Cure- a period of inactivity or leisure with intentions of improving one's physical or mental health

*Prescribed more frequently for women than men

*Six to eight weeks of complete isolation

*enforced bed rest while on a fatty or milk based diet

*reduced to the dependency of an infant: nurses cleaned, fed, and turned them in bed

*Massages and electrotherapy to maintain muscle tone

-" ...he says he would as soon put fireworks in my pillowcase as to let me have those stimulating people about now." (Gilman 30)

Depression- feelings of severe despondency and dejection

1900s Treatment

*Rest cure: believed that relaxing and de-stressing would positively improve the condition

Treatment Today

*Therapy, Medication, and Lifestyle Changes

*Learning as much as possible about the condition

*Taking time to find the right treatment

*Not being fully dependent on medication alone

*Social support

*Time and commitment

Author Appreciation: Gilman's use of Diction and Imagery


- Vivid words


-Elaborates on her thoughts throughout the work

-Thought provoking

-Enticing; prompts one to continue reading

- provokes curiosity throughout the work

-Deeper understanding of her mental condition causing thoughts and actions


*Easy to picture each individual scene and the setting in the work

*Gain a strong understanding of what is being spoken of

*Brings the work to life with vivid description and detail

-Top half of page 33; elaborate wall paper description