The Yellow Wallpaper
The Yellow Wallpaper" is a 6,000-word short story by the American writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, first published in January 1892 in The New England Magazine. It is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature, illustrating attitudes in the 19th century toward women's physical and mental health.
Presented in the first person, the story is a collection of journal entries written by a woman whose physician husband has confined her to the upstairs bedroom of a house he has rented for the summer. She is forbidden from working and has to hide her journal from him, so she can recuperate from what he calls a "temporary nervous depression - a slight hysterical tendency," a diagnosis common to women in that period. The windows of the room are barred, and there is a gate across the top of the stairs, allowing her husband to control her access to the rest of the house.
Yuen leads listeners convincingly through this beautifully wrought 1892 short story. She begins the first-person narrative with the voice of a sensible if somewhat distraught young woman confined by her doctor husband to an attic room with hideous yellow wallpaper and bars on the windows. She is thought to have a nervous condition and is permitted no activity, including writing, lest it tire her. Eschewing melodrama, Yuen gradually changes tone and inflection as the weeks pass and the wife starts tearing down the wallpaper, perceives another woman behind it trying to get out, and finally descends into madness. It's a short, intoxicating listen that merits more than one replay.