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Literary Realism in “The Yellow Wallpaper”

     The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short story about postpartum depression and the medical practices of the late 1800’s. At this time little was known about mental illness and it became common practice to isolate patients or lock them away. For this reason “The Yellow Wallpaper” exhibits many of the characteristics of Literary realism.

     Literary Realism is a form of writing that reflects the societal and cultural practices of the time period during which the piece was written.  Gilman creates a first person account of her ailing mental illness. By choosing to write in the first person narrative Gilman is commenting on the extreme isolation felt by the mental patients of her time. With no outlet, besides her diary, Gilman is able to give  readers access to even the most private corners of her mind.


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