Detroit: St. James Press, 1994. 209-210. Wagner-Martin, Linda. "The Yellow Wallpaper." Reference Guide to Short Fiction.
Haney-Peritz, Janice. "Monumental Feminism and Literature's Ancestral House: Another Look at 'The Yellow Wallpaper'" Women's Studies. 12 (1986): 113-128. Kasmer, Lisa. "Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper': A Symptomatic Reading."
Repression of Women Exposed in The Yellow Wallpaper The short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman gives a brilliant description of the plight of the Victorian woman, and the mental agony that her and many other women were put through as "treatment" for depression when they found that they were not satisfied by the life they had been given. In the late nineteenth century when the Yellow Wallpaper was written, the role of wife and mother, which women were expected to adopt, often led to depression or a so-called "hysteria". Women of this period were living in a patriarchal society where they were expected to be demure and passive, supportive yet unquestioning of their husbands, and good mothers to their husband's children. The conflict for women in the society thus became a question of how to be all of these things while still conserving herself as a person and most importantly, conserving her sanity (Wagner-Martin 51). In this Victorian society "the boredom and confinement of affluent women fostered a morbid cult of hypochondria - 'female invalidism'"- where it became popular and even appropriate for women to fall into bed at the slightest provocation with a "sick headache" or "nerves" (Ehrenreich 92-93).
While women of this time were trying to be kept in their private and domestic sphere, it left women feeling hopeless and full of depression. Because of this, Gilman may have been prompted to write this story to help express her feelings and also bring awareness to society about how some women were feeling. Through Gilman’s use of symbols, she is able to convey that women are being suppressed and only want to achieve freedom from their social bondage. This story is about a physician, John, who, after seeing his wife has acquired a “nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency,” takes her to a summer “vacation” home to let her rest and recover from her pressing illness. (Gilman, 1899) After being put in what seems to be a nursery, the narrator becomes fixated on the yellow wallpaper that envelops the room.
Gilman's literary indictment of Dr. Mitchell's ineffective treatment came to life in the story "The Yellow Wallpaper." On the surface, this gothic tale seems only to relate one woman's struggle with mental illness, but because Guilman was a prominent feminist and social thinker she incorporated themes of women's rights and the poor relationships between husbands and wives (Kennedy and Gioia 424). Guilman cleverly manipulates the setting to support her themes and set the eerie mood. Upon first reading "The Yellow Wallpaper," the reader may see the relationship between the narrator and her husband John as caring, but with examination one will find that the narrator is repeatedly belittled and demeaned by her husband. On first arriving at the vacation home John chooses the old attic nursery against his wife's wishes and laughs at her when she complains about the wallpaper (Kennedy et al.
The Yellow Paper is a symbolic story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It is a disheartening tale of a woman struggling to free herself from postpartum depression. This story gives an account of an emotionally and intellectual deteriorated woman who is a wife and a mother who is struggling to break free from her metal prison and find peace. The post-partum depression forced her to look for a neurologist doctor who gives a rest cure. She was supposed to have a strict bed rest.
"Self, Society, and Myth in Toni Morrison's Fiction." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Draper, James P., ed. Michigan: Gale Research Inc., 1994. 215-273.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, feminist, was one of these women who used her writing to express the differences and hardships women went through. One of her more famous works, the Yellow Wallpaper, is known as both a feminist piece and a depiction of Victorian life and indifferences for women. It is a piece that can have controversial meanings that can be taken to heart to why Gilman ever wrote it. "The Yellow Wallpaper" has a simple enough story, the woman is taken to a rented house to recover from a nervous depression that she was experiencing. The depression was something common in women of the time, especially in more upper class women with little to do.