Despite writing for different reasons, authors have always communicated to their audience with deep meanings and messages in their story. Charlotte Perkins Gilman is no exception and demonstrates this exceedingly well in her text The Yellow Wallpaper, which clearly shows the purpose of outlining the oppression of women. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s personal experiences, and the time period in which she lives influenced her to write Gilman’s personal experiences, and the time period in which she lives influenced her to write The Yellow Wallpaper in which she communicated the universal truth that only the mind can set itself free.
The influence of madness, Gilman’s personal life and medical experiences and the oppression of women had all helped motivated Gilman to write this text. The social expectations of a woman’s place in society or the world during the late 19th and early 20th century greatly impacted Gilman and motivated her to address the universal truth that only the mind can set itself free. Firstly, the oppression of women in Gilman’s time period had rendered other to see women as mindless, and therefore had to be directed to do tasks by men. He is very loving and caring, and hardy lets me stir without special direction” (Gilman 2). This statement from the rendered other to see women as mindless, and therefore had to be directed to do tasks by men. “He is very loving and caring, and hardy lets me stir without special direction” (Gilman 2). This statement from The Yellow Wallpaper shows that despite genuinely loving her he still thought, or believed, she did not have a mind of her own and that she had to be directed “specially”.
In addition to this, women had vastly different social expectations as compared to men. “There is no female mind. The brain is not an organ of sex. As well speak of a female liver” (Gilman). This excerpt reflects back toward the influence of madness because it shows that women were thought of having no mind, and that the brain is but an organ of sex. It also related to the universal truth that only the mind can set itself free because women in Gilman’s time did commonly “free” their minds, just not in the way they had intended and were driven to complete insanity.
Finally, the medical treatment many women, including Gilman herself, had faced what was near appalling, as it showed the great difference between men’s treatment and women’s treatment. “Some husbands took control of her actions, forbidding her from leaving her room. The treatment, the ‘rest’ cure for men was exercise (physical and intellectual) and leisure, while women were given a suffocating slice of seclusion, bed rest and no intellectual activity. ” (Bauer 131). This portrays the different medical treatment woman, including Gilman, had faced long ago.
For mental illnesses, the condition of a man had typically gotten better, while the isolation and cage-like room had caused the condition of women to worsen and usually went mad. These three elements all helped motivated Charlotte Perkins Gilman to address the universal truth that only the mind can set itself free. These three arguments show that Charlotte Perkins Gilman was able to imply the universal truth that only the mind can free itself in the short story The Yellow Wallpaper.
Gilman was able to do this by reviewing three key aspects; the influence of madness, her life and medical experiences and the oppression of women. One of these arguments that conveyed the universal truth is the “rest” cure which both Gilman and the narrator had faced. Another argument was that women were thought to have no mind, which would prevent the mind to free itself. The final argument was that women were oppressed, even by loved ones. Therefore, Gilman’s text shows that without the same treatment or rights, a mind will fail to set itself free.