Socio-cultural setting of The Yellow Wallpaper.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a feminist author that fights for the women rights. She had going through a rough milieu in her life when she almost lost her sanity. However, she managed to wake up from the disaster. Later, she began to write The Yellow Wallpaper that was published in the 18th century when the women was dominated by men. The center of focus of her writing was the imbalanced position of women within a marriage. She insisted the fact that the society was robbing women’s life and freedom.
In the 1800s, women were entirely controlled by the man in their lives. Women were second-class society. Most women stay at home doing chores while their husband work. The women are meant to seek fulfillment at home. They were expected to limit their interest to the home and family. In the period, women doesn’t play a huge role and were looked as useless if they don’t know how to run the house. They were not encouraged to seeks for education. After marriages, women had to give all their assets to her husband. Her husband had rights to everything his wife had, including her body. This concept was sustained by both the law as well as the marriage vows. Some women were okay with that situation such as Jennie, John’s sister who is a proud housekeeper. The narrator however, doesn’t like where she stand and with John who always belittling her and keep insisting that he is always right lead to depression.
The socio-cultural setting of The Yellow Wallpaper was included in the era of Rest and Cure Treatment in the 1800s, that was pioneered by Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, a leading specialist in nervous disorder. He had introduced a ‘rest cure’ of forced inactivity to Gilman and lead her to a mental breakdown. The story largely exposed the implications of this treatment. In this treatment , the patients are forced to do nothing but eat and sleep. Gilman said that Weir’s prescriptions had nearly drives her nut.
Gilman also inserted the tradition of Gothic romances which featured spooky old mansion and heroine determined to unfold their secrets. Gilman use the psychological horror tale that were famous in the late eighteenth century. All in all, Gilman wrote this story to fight for women’s right and prevent them from having depression that was infamous in the late 1800s.