The True Cost of Womanhood: A study of women's mental health in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar


Summary, in English

This essay examines the depiction of women’s mental health and the effects which societal ideals have on it in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. These two literary works openly criticise the societal standards of femininity in the 19th and 20th centuries. The analysis discusses how forceful implementation of these ideals upon women can have great effects on their mental health. With support from the historical background and both authors’ own experience with mental illness, this essay argues that impossible norms and constant male subordination of women can become too much for a woman to carry and can lead to actual insanity.


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Mental health
  • mental illness
  • the US
  • the 19th century
  • the 20th century
  • feminism
  • the yellow wallpaper
  • the bell jar.


  • Birgitta Berglund (FD)