Charlotte Perkins Gilman sent a copy of her story to her former doctor. She wanted to show him how wrong the treatment of depression was. After the birth of her child, the author, similar to her character, suffered from severe postpartum depression. Gilman recovered only because she stopped following the psychiatrist’s orders.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a first-person story of a depressed woman. Her husband, a doctor, decided to treat her. A typical 19th-century psychiatry diagnosis, with the help of isolation. Minimum talking and mental stress were a standard treatment of the era. The woman was forced to spend long days in a room with yellow wallpaper. It became part of the psychosis into which she put herself into. The author also suffered from depression but managed to recover. This explains why she sent the copy of her story to her former doctor, who also applied the wrong treatment methods.
This story criticizes 19th-century psychiatry and doctors’ approaches to curing depression. By using wrong methods, doctors only worsened their patients’ health. They didn’t allow women to talk to anyone and lead a fulfilling social life. They had no chance to recover with such awful rules. If the doctors tried to understand the patients, they would see that the cure did not help. They believed in their methods and overlooked the facts.
Gilman also wrote a short work, “Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper.” She explains to the readers that this story appeared after she had recovered from severe depression. It has become one of the key texts of the feminist movement. The plot also shows us a classic testament to depression and a description of inadequate treatment.