What is the moral of the story "The Yellow Wallpaper"?

The moral of the story "The Yellow Wallpaper" is that lack of activity and mental stimulation worsens, rather than cures, a woman's depression. The story illustrates that women should be treated as intelligent partners in devising a cure for their own mental illness, not treated as children.

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Gilman wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper" to protest a rest treatment she was subjected to for a temporary depression similar to the one the narrator of her story suffers. As with her story's protagonist , Gilman's treatment was based on the work of Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, an influential...

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Gilman wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper" to protest a rest treatment she was subjected to for a temporary depression similar to the one the narrator of her story suffers. As with her story's protagonist, Gilman's treatment was based on the work of Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, an influential physician of the period who believed that psychological disorders in women derived from women taking on "male" work.

Like her story's narrator, Gilman was forced to give up writing and any other creative or intellectual endeavors as a depression cure. This enforced mental idleness, which, as in the story, led to Gilman's depression getting worse, not better. Gilman, however, was able to stop her treatment before she had a psychotic break.

In the story, Gilman envisions what would have happened had she not been able to escape her rest cure. Her narrator ends up having a complete breakdown brought on by inactivity and isolation. She images there is a woman trapped inside the yellow wallpaper in her room, so she rips as much of the wallpaper off the wall as she can to free her. At story's end, the narrator has lost touch with reality and is crawling around the room with her shoulder pressed against the wall.

Gilman sent the story to Mitchell, hoping he might change his methods. He did not, but the story has lasted as an important protest against not letting women have a voice in the treatment of their own mental illnesses. The moral of the story is that women need both mental stimulation and to be treated seriously as intelligent adults when they critique their treatments.

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