What are the effects of alienation from self and society in "The Yellow Wallpaper"?

In "The Yellow Wallpaper," the effects of alienation from society and self is the continued deterioration of mental health. Already suffering from postpartum depression, the story's protagonist is left in a state of indolence and confinement. In the process, her mind continually spirals further toward a mental breakdown, a process which readers observe from her own point of view.

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"The Yellow Wallpaper" was intended to criticize the nineteenth-century practice of the rest cure, depicting its deleterious effects on mental health. Already suffering from postpartum depression, the story's protagonist is prescribed a rest-cure treatment by her husband, a physician, and sent into isolation and prolonged indolence within the...

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"The Yellow Wallpaper" was intended to criticize the nineteenth-century practice of the rest cure, depicting its deleterious effects on mental health. Already suffering from postpartum depression, the story's protagonist is prescribed a rest-cure treatment by her husband, a physician, and sent into isolation and prolonged indolence within the confines of a rented house. This results in the further deterioration of her mental health, sending her into insanity.

In this, the story's themes of feminism and mental health concerns are closely intertwined, given that it is her physician husband who imposes this rest cure upon her, even as he continually discounts her own perspective and concerns. In this capacity, he emerges as her oppressor, responsible for her sense of alienation and the continued decline of her mental health (a decline that is seen from within her own point of view, due to the story's use of first-person perspective).

We see this deteriorating mental state reflected in her growing fixation with the yellow wallpaper itself, becoming increasingly obsessed with it, as she is left to stew in her confinement. Finding it disgusting from the very beginning, she nonetheless becomes captivated by it and begins to perceive within it the shape of a woman trapped inside. Kept in isolation by her husband, having been silenced and denied any agency of her own, her mind is left to spiral, a process that culminates with the mental breakdown that ends the story.

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