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.
The Yellow Wallpaper
I just read this and I wasn't ready for it to end. I was so caught up in the intensifying insanity, it ended so abruptly. That was the only thing I didn't like about this short story. I was caught up in the madness and couldn't help wondering how the author was so convincing without being mad herself. I understand now why it's under feminist literature because of the way her husband ignored and denied her madness. I noticed similarities to Madame Bovary. The husband were both physicians that made efforts to help but were totally ill prepared to deal with their wives' ailments. In a weird way it also reminded me of a program I just heard on NPR about a woman soldier who came back from Afganistan with PTSD and the psychologists didn't believe her because women aren't supposed to be in combat. But she was. Her salvation, her solution she found was in writing about it. It may not be a cure for the insanity but we all need to write because we all have a story bubbling up inside of us, just dying to get out and be shared with the world.
This story S U C K S
It's the worst book I've ever read in my entire life )):
Odd at Best
I had to read this as a book club assignment. I must admit that 1) I would not have chosen this particular story myself & 2) I had to MAKE myself read it. With that being said, I did "get into it" and started to care about her spiraling deeper into herself and her psychosis as she began to identify with the wallpaper. Overall, a short story that makes one wonder and question the human mind; our own as well as others.