Since its original publication in The New England Magazine in May 1892 and its subsequent resurrection by modern feminists in the l970's, Charlotte Perkins Gilman's novella, "The Yellow Wallpaper" has gone through varied interpretations. When it was originally written, "The Yellow Wallpaper" was considered a tale of horror, so horrible in fact, that one editor, Horace Scudder of the Atlantic Monthly, refused the work because he did not want to make others as miserable as he was when he read it. Even as late as 1971, Gilman's work was anthologized under the category of horror (Kennard 75).
It was not until the work was rediscovered and republished in 1973 that modern feminist critics recognized the female hero as a victim of society (Kennard 75). However, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is more than a story with a fictional character; it is the story of its creator. Gilman, as well as her heroine, suffered through postpartum depression. She not only had to fight the depression and isolation of being a mother but also the social mores of the time which did not condone career-minded mothers. Society's prime guardians of the status quo in this instance were the medical doctors who found it necessary to treat women who were less than happy in their domestic roles. In her case, the treatment was administered by Dr. S. Weir Mitchell for whom Gilman stated she wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper" (The Living of CPG 121). Gilman recognized that she needed to escape the confinement of the home before she could become a career woman who also happened to be a mother. It was through "The Yellow Wallpaper" that the transition from homebound mother to career mother began.
The feelings she experienced as a new mother were not unlike those of ma...
... middle of paper ...
...Gilman: An Autobiography. New York and London: D. Appleton-Century Co. (1935)
Rpt. As The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. New York: Harper & Row, Colophon Books, 1975.
---. "Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper". Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A Study of the Short Fiction. Ed. Denise D Knight. New York, Twayne Publishers, 1997. 106-107.
Hill, Mary A. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Making of a Radical Feminist, 1860-1896. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 1980.
Kennard, Jean E. "Convention Coverage or How to Read Your Own Life." New Literary History 13 (Autumn 1981): 69-88.
Palis, James., et al. "The Hippocratic Concept of Hysteria: A Translation of the Original Texts." Integrative Psychiatry 3.3 (1985): 226-228.
Smith-Rosenberg, Carroll "The Hysterical Woman: Sex Roles and Role Conflict in 19th-Century America," Social Research 39 (Winter 1972): 652-78
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Yellow Wallpaper, published in the late nineteenth century, has been one of the most analyzed pieces of literature regarding feminism and the psychology of women. Many believe that the work’s narrator is a direct reflection of Charlotte Perkins Gilman and her opinion on psychology of the time. Many would see this story as a psychological breakdown play by play, it is clear from a feminist standpoint that this is an observation on the state of women in the late 1800s, and perhaps even of the author’s own struggles with a society run by men.... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
1790 words (5.1 pages)
- In “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins, the main character, who is the narrator, is taken to a summerhouse by her husband John. John is not only her husband but he is also a physician. Her husband John diagnoses his wife as being mentally unwell. John’s prescription for healing her state of mental instability is bed rest. While on bed rest, the narrator is left alone in her house by herself for most of the day. Her husband John forces her to stay in the room that she despises, in a house she does not want to be in.... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
754 words (2.2 pages)
- Pasang Sherpa Professor Tronrud English 130 Oct 19, 2015 “My own world” in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper I think that woman gets out in the daytime!And I 'll tell you why - privately I 've seen her. I can see her out of everyone of my windows. It is the same woman, I know, for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight. In Freud 's understanding the concept of the ‘double’ is that the self becomes confounded, or the foreign self is substituted for his own in other words, by doubling, dividing and interchanging the self (Freud 9).... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
1034 words (3 pages)
- In 1892 Author, Poet, and Feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote a heart gripping short story that would shock the world and bring awareness to a serious illness of depression called The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte was not just an ordinary author, she was intelligent, courageous, creative and also a social activist who believed in independent economic status for women. (Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Bio. Par. 4) Unfortunately, Charlotte also battled severe depression in her life time, and had to seek constant treatment for nervous breakdowns that would cloud her mind, she also brought light to her depressive illness by tapping into her deep inner-creative imagination.... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
1389 words (4 pages)
- Charlotte Perkins Gilman 's short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" has been viewed as a narrative study of Gilman’s own depression and nervousness. The narrator of the story and Gilman are very similar as they both reached for medical help. The Yellow Wallpaper was written in a time of great change. During the early to mid-nineteenth century domestic ideology positioned woman as the sacred and principled leaders of their home. Gilman would advocate other roles for women which Gilman thought should be much more equal economically, socially and politically with men.... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
1403 words (4 pages)
- The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, is a feminist short story. It is about a woman who is mentally ill and gets misdiagnosed by her controlling husband. He puts her in a room saying doing nothing will cure her. While in the room she becomes captivated by the yellow wallpaper. She starts to see a trapped woman in the wallpaper. The woman’s obsession over the wallpaper and imprisonment in the room causes her to lose her mind. She has fallen victim to her madness in her desire to let the woman out the wallpaper.... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
1347 words (3.8 pages)
- In the 19th century, women had to accept their situation because they lived in a world dominated by men. In the short story, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a woman named Jane is suffering from postpartum depression. John, the husband of Jane is a doctor. In order to cure her illness, he tells Jane that they will go to a summer house. Once they arrive in the summer house, he orders her to stay in bed. At the beginning of the story, Jane was not sick as her husband said, all she had was postpartum depression.... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
1072 words (3.1 pages)
- The Yellow Wallpaper is a story of a new mother struggling with postpartum depression. Family members, including her husband, believed she was suffering from a nervous condition. The author of the story The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gillman, was a woman’s activist who believed there was no difference between men and women mentalities. An example of this, Gilman was quoted as saying, “There is no female mind. The brain is not an organ of sex. Might as well speak of a female liver” (BrainyQuote).... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
1307 words (3.7 pages)
- The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman has a tone of a mentally ill women who worsens while under the thumb of her husband who is her doctor first and husband second. She numerously attempts to reveal her true, current state of mind to her husband but he shows that he thinks he knows best. The internal conflict of being better but not being heard leads to her ultimate breakdown and shock to her husband, John. Everyone has experience this type conflict, whether concealed or disclosed to another, of trying to convey your true feelings but not getting the results you need to progress properly.... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
835 words (2.4 pages)
- The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman Charlotte Perkins Gilman's, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a partial autobiography. It was written shortly after the author suffered a nervous breakdown. This story was written to help save people from being driven crazy. Appropriately, this short story is about a mentally disturbed woman and her husband's attempts to help her get well. He does so by convincing her that solitude and constant bed rest is the best way to cure her problem.... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman The Yellow Wallpaper]
1488 words (4.3 pages)