Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” is set in the late 19th century, a period of transition from the Victorian era to the progressive era. During this time, psychology was becoming a more prominent field of study and mental health was beginning to be understood. The setting of the story reflects the cultural attitudes and societal norms of this era, particularly towards women’s mental and physical health. Women were seen as inherently fragile and prone to mental illness, and the medical profession believed that their primary role was to be homemakers and caretakers. This belief led to the “rest cure” treatment, which was a popular but harmful practice of the time. In the story, the protagonist is confined to her bedroom and subjected to the rest cure, which is a form of oppression and control. The setting of “The Yellow Wallpaper” is an important part of the story as it reflects the historical context and the oppressive cultural attitudes towards women’s mental and physical health. The protagonist’s confinement and lack of agency in her own medical treatment highlights the damaging effects of restrictive societal norms. The yellow wallpaper in the story symbolizes the protagonist’s entrapment and the limitations placed upon her by society. The setting of “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a testament to the historical context and provides insight into the cultural attitudes and societal norms of the late 19th century.
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