I know—being forced to lie in bed and do literally nothing for weeks! And that's because you don't live in the 's, a. But way back in , Charlotte Perkins Gilman went to see a specialist in the hope of curing her recurring nervous breakdowns.
The specialist recommended a "rest cure," which consisted of lying in bed all day and engaging in intellectual activity for only two hours a day. After three months, Gilman says, she was "near the borderline of utter mental ruin. For the first decades of its life, "The Yellow Wallpaper" was read as a piece of horror fiction firmly situated in the Gothic genre. And we're not terribly shocked by this: But according to Gilman, the short story was never intended as a Gothic horror, but rather as a cautionary tale about what supposed "rest cures" could do to the mental stability of patients.
She sent a copy to the physician who had recommended a rest cure, and he subsequently changed his medical practices. It was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked. It's easy to read "The Yellow Wallpaper" and feel a little smug. After all, you're living in the 21st Century. Thing like leaving a someone alone for most of the day without any mental stimulation just doesn't happen these days, right?
And if it does, it's certainly not done in someone's best interest, right? Um, the answer is "yes" and "no. The narrator of "The Yellow Wallpaper" spends a summer languishing mostly alone on a bed nailed down to the floor. And she does this on the orders of a well-meaning husband and a well-meaning doctor who, um, happen to be the same man.
Being essentially locked into a room with nothing to do was seen as the very best treatment against mental illness. And, as we see in this story, the treatment actually made its patients more unstable, not less. And even though the "rest cure" has gone the way of the velociraptor good riddance , there's still a cousin of the rest cure being used around the country, even today.
We're talking about solitary confinement in prisons. It's a masterful example of an unreliable narrator and a woman's descent into madness. Don't want to spoil it by saying any more, if you haven't already read this great short story. View all 9 comments. Apr 24, J. The Yellow Wallpaper is a short but powerful masterpiece in which Charlotte Perkins Gilman offers insight into oppression and madness.
It remains despite being written in as relevant as it is haunting. Liberation from his and society's oppression of women is only available in this internal struggle which ultimately leads to a mental breakdow The Yellow Wallpaper is a short but powerful masterpiece in which Charlotte Perkins Gilman offers insight into oppression and madness.
Liberation from his and society's oppression of women is only available in this internal struggle which ultimately leads to a mental breakdown and loss of identity. View all 3 comments.
The Yellow Wallpaper is a short novella from , which has become a classic of the genre. It is a claustrophobic depiction of what would then be described as a woman's descent into madness, but now sounds more like severe post-natal depression. The story consists of passages from a secret journal, kept by the woman, Jane, who is losing her grip on reality. The narrator is confined to the upstairs bedroom of a house by her doctor husband, John, who diagnoses a "temporary nervous depression - a The Yellow Wallpaper is a short novella from , which has become a classic of the genre.
The narrator is confined to the upstairs bedroom of a house by her doctor husband, John, who diagnoses a "temporary nervous depression - a slight hysterical tendency -". The windows of the room are barred, and there is a gate across the top of the stairs so that she has limited access to the rest of the house.
She is also forbidden from working by her husband, whom she claims to comply with because he is a doctor. It is not difficult to see how these constraints would exacerbate any tendency to depression!
This story depicts the prevailing attitudes in the 19th century toward women, in particular their physical and mental health, promoting the view that they should live and be defined entirely by domestic considerations. Jane's husband is kindly and insufferably paternalistic, ""Bless her little heart! Charlotte Perkins Gilman was an author, philosopher, socialist and feminist.
Her stories both analyse and criticise the role of women in society, at a time when men were very much dominant. The contemporary view is that such women were oppressed by their position in a patriarchal society.
In several of her later stories Gilman deals with a male-dominated medical establishment attempting to silence its women patients. In this one the narrator expresses the views that she should work instead of rest, and that she should go out in society more, instead of remaining isolated.
She also thinks that she should not be separated and "protected" from her child, but should be able to see her child and allowed to be a mother. This is a modern perspective, and very much ahead of its time. True to the current conventions of behaviour though, Jane is silent, powerless, and passive, accepting her doctor-husband's authority in all things. It was stated by a medical journal of the time, that a physician must "assume a tone of authority" and that the idea of a "cured" woman was one who became "subdued, docile, silent, and above all subject to the will and voice of the physician.
This makes for a very unsettling read. One interpretation could be that since she has been forbidden to read or write, the given medical reason being that her "hysteria" needs "rest", she then starts to "read" the wallpaper, and feels increasingly trapped behind it.
She first describes the wallpaper saying, "the colour is repellent, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight. At night she is able to see a woman behind bars, trapped within its complicated design.
The ending is ambiguous, depending on how the reader has interpreted the story. Does she slip into irrevocable psychosis? Does she murder her husband? Clearly though, this story is about disempowering women, even to the point of forbidding the tools for writing, in case "Jane" manages to express her own identity in that way. The bars and trapped woman are originally symbolic of the narrator's own confinement, but eventually she becomes subsumed in the many images of women that she sees.
The Yellow Wallpaper originated in Gilman's own experience, when she suffered from depression, and was ordered to lead a similar life to that of the narrator of this story. An eminent specialist prescribed a rest cure, recommending her to live a domestic a life as possible. She was only allowed two hours of mental stimulation a day, and writing materials were banned.
She followed this directive for three months, becoming increasingly desperate. Eventually she felt herself slipping into a worse mental state, so rebelled and wrote The Yellow Wallpaper as a sort of therapy for herself, as well as alerting the public to what she considered a seriously misguided form of treatment.
She said the story was, "not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked. Aug 18, Elyse rated it it was ok. I debated about saying anything Many of my favorite people love this book. I thought this 99 cent book was odd Plus, right from the start -- I felt like I was reading a laundry list-- I was being talked 'at'.
I found it irritating. This is actually one of those books I wish I didn't read. I didn't like how I felt --and I don't think the book was 'that' worthy that I needed to feel so yucky after. Read other reviews I debated about saying anything Read other reviews --or just spend the 99 cents to discover for yourself-- most readers appreciated this book!!!
My comments are simply based on my feelings and reaction. View all 18 comments. Mar 13, Greta rated it it was amazing Shelves: Clever, eerie little story, which I highly recommend to anyone who thinks that depending on a caring spouse is all you need to be happy.
Sometimes it's not, and it even can be harmful ; especially if your wallpaper happens to be yellow. View all 21 comments. Jun 16, Bradley rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Everyone with a desire to understand how they're trapped by life. I was reminded of this little piece by a fellow reviewer and while I read it way back in college, several things still stick in my mind.
First, the prevalent psychology of Freud during the time-period: This novel portrays the kind of circular thinking that could happen to anyone in that particular time and station. Any person of a protected, apparently weak, and especially underclass station could find the confines so stifling that it might break their mind. Of course, this isn't to say that ever I was reminded of this little piece by a fellow reviewer and while I read it way back in college, several things still stick in my mind.
Of course, this isn't to say that every woman had it this bad, or that they had weak minds. I'm just saying that Freud pointed out something that was happening during this time-period and all of a sudden he gets catapulted into prominence for stating the blinding obvious.
Going crazy was an escape. This led to the arrival of hoards of writers, revolutionaries, men and women of all walks of life all deciding that they'd show how much they weren't influenced by Freud. There was the huge push to make things equal between the sexes. Hell, I think that part was very healthy.
Gilman was a perfect revolutionary. She showed us how insane a person could get being put into that society, under those social rules and regulations, and even made her character sympathetic. This is one of those works where it is so much more satisfying to read when we understand where it came from. It's even worse when we understand that this was pretty much a regular part of the times. And then, there's Oscar Wilde. He had a speech on his deathbed perhaps apocryphal , where he saw the ugly purple wallpaper on the wall next to his deathbed and made a pronouncement, "Either this wallpaper goes, or I go!
Was this a commentary? Perhaps it was a slight twist and turn in medium, a hidden knife, a big idea slammed by wit. But then, I'm only a man, but I'm proud to say that this story sent me on a long kick of feminism literature back in college. I'm sorry to see that the whole subject is so out of vogue. The backlash backlashed and backlashed again briefly and backlashed until I'm hella unsure where the pendulum has landed. I'm pleased to see it still lives a bit in SF and Fantasy, but but the rest of the genres seem to backsliding more often than they get it right.
I mean, what the hell is a Romance novel, except a means to pigeonhole women into a narrowly confined role and teach them to stare at the pretty wallpaper? Some YA novels feature nothing but abusive and truly creep-the-fuck-out characters.
Where the hell is the lost ideal of equality between the sexes? All I see these days is frustrated sexual fantasies that rely more on power plays than love. Someone, please let me know where I can get some relief! Anyway, I always liked this story, and it allowed me to flex my imagination and enjoy the surrealism of the literature of the day in a way a little more accessible than others of the type that I just couldn't get into as much. It was still a mindfuq, and put into perspective, I think the novelette gave a great deal of meaning to women.
People's perceptions of themselves change over time, obviously, reacting to past mistakes, past preconceptions, but as a cross-gender analysis, I have to say that no one is completely free of the wallpaper.
Anyone can be caught up in their social roles. I know I've felt as trapped as our crazy protagonist. It's not just women who have needed to gain a measure of self-awareness.
We all need to say, "Enough is Enough, Already! View all 19 comments. Jan 03, Lynn rated it it was amazing Shelves: I typed the title into the search just to see if it would come up. I had no idea that this was a classic work.
I never could recall the author's name, but from the reviews, I can see that I am not alone in how it still sits with me decades later. I was only 13 or 14 years old when I sat in on my aunt's college literature class. I sat in the back, and the teacher gave me a black and white copy of the text so I could read along with the class. I remember the debate raged on in the class, but we re I typed the title into the search just to see if it would come up.
I remember the debate raged on in the class, but we read very little there. Later that night, while everyone was asleep, I read the whole story alone in our dark attic apartment.
It wasn't that I scared easy or that I was too young for the story, it was just so intense, so real, I guess I thought it was so possible I looked at everything different from then on. I thought anywhere could be a jail and anyone your jailer. I knew I could see patterns in the sky, in the dark, if you closed and opened your eyes rapidly, in markings on the floor, in the terrible paneling on our walls, but I would never mention this to anyone, least I never am let out again.
View all 8 comments. I was stuck in traffic, so I started this audio book--and an hour later when I finally pulled in my driveway, this was me: As she slowly became more and more obsessed with the wallpaper of her vacation home, she also became less committed to writing her ideas. It was also shockingly sad to see her fears completely dismissed by her husband, and her chosen creative outlet writing restricted from her. Overall, I see why this is a feminist staple, and loved the writing style.
It is quite short, but completely immersive and addicting. View all 6 comments. After seeing two recent reviews from two reviewers I respect and getting different perspectives with complete opposing views made me want to pick up this short novella, at 64 pages long it was not much of a stretch to fit it into my day! I'm so glad I picked it up, it really is a peculiar story.
It captures a real horror of a woman trapped by her nervous disposition as she describes her condition, you really get a real sense of dread at her fixation with the yellow wallpaper in the room where sh After seeing two recent reviews from two reviewers I respect and getting different perspectives with complete opposing views made me want to pick up this short novella, at 64 pages long it was not much of a stretch to fit it into my day! It captures a real horror of a woman trapped by her nervous disposition as she describes her condition, you really get a real sense of dread at her fixation with the yellow wallpaper in the room where she is recovering from some sort of depressive episode.
This was really quite an inventive way to display and portray a woman's descent into madness. I'm glad this was a short story as I felt the power of this wallpaper taking hold! What a wonderful story and that ending!! View all 15 comments.
What is so striking about this story is its narrative voice. It feels as if someone has just written it. As a reader, I am so impressed by this quality; the world created more than a century ago still resonates with me, it still appears fresh and familiar.
The young patient and her physician husband John are like any other present-day upper middle-class couple. When we see them, we know them. On the surface, this couple looks happy and satisfied, but as the story unfolds we know more about their What is so striking about this story is its narrative voice. On the surface, this couple looks happy and satisfied, but as the story unfolds we know more about their relationship. Even though John seems caring and concerned toward his wife; something is queer about his care.
His wife feels being reduced to her severe nervous depression, her medical condition. She is only her disease, the rest of her is ignored. The good husband always tells her what she should do and what not. For instance, she loves writing journals, but she is forbidden to do so. She waits for him to leave the house so that she can write. John's sister Jennie also comes to stay with them and help them.
So everyone around her in the name of love and care restricts her; she does not matter much but her cancer does. The disease takes over the person. Her husband John shows his affection and love in every possible way, but he does not really listen to her.
Throughout the story, she tells herself how good and loving John is. Her disease, the well regulated mundane interest of her husband make her emotionally more aloof and damaged. She is drawn to the yellow wallpaper on the wall of her airy bedroom. This yellow wallpaper absorbs her completely; by its unique, sprawling flamboyant patterns. She talks and engages with the wallpaper, especially, because everyone around her has things to do.
She becomes more and more consumed by these ever mobile, hideous patterns on the yellow wallpaper. At times, she gives a hint of what bothers her apart from her bodily pain, it is her husband's lack of concern, his true presence. He stays away from her due to his work, and sometimes for days on end. Even when they share the same bed, he is oblivious to what is happening inside her. John and his sister also take a strange turn in her mind.
She imagines weird, incestuous things in regard to John and his sister. She spies on them, and at one point she even has a minor tiff with Jennie.
These layered responses to her disease, possibly cancer though this is not mentioned in the story, intersect with deeper issues of love and human relationships. A story on how some well-meant intentions can have the worst possible consequences. What I didn't like here was the too sinuous structure of the plot - we see a lot of raving, some fantasies and a bit of reflection of real life. Still, we have no background on anything and this book could have a lot of different twists hidden from us.
Due to this it read a bit weird: I do appreciate that this structure lets the reader to come to their own conclusions, still I don't like it. Yes, this incolves a lot of things to ponder about roles, pressure and interaction in family and rules and obedience and medical vagaries and psychological maladies treatment Still, this is all rather generalistic and this particular short story could have been developed into a proper novel.
John is a physician, and perhaps I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal—having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition. He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction. I have a schedule prescription for each hour in the day It is so hard to talk with John about my case, because he is so wise, and because he loves me so. This paper looks to me as if it knew what a vicious influence it had!
I am getting angry enough to do something desperate. To jump out of the window would be admirable exercise, but the bars are too strong even to try. I know well enough that a step like that is improper and might be misconstrued. View all 5 comments.
There are so many insightful reviews already out there that analyze this absorbing short story; I fear I have nothing new to add Gilman's perfectly sustained masterpiece is a treasure trove and there are many things to contemplate: Oct 19, Rae Meadows rated it really liked it.
I'm not sure I have much to add about this story from , but I had never read it and was glad to finally do so. It is an incredibly sad story of a woman's descent into mental illness hastened by a rest cure imposed by her physician husband. There are different layers, one being an early feminist critique of women's subjectivity in a marriage, through the story of a woman whose agency has been taken away by her husband.
There are a couple of eerie mentions of a baby in another room taken care I'm not sure I have much to add about this story from , but I had never read it and was glad to finally do so. There are a couple of eerie mentions of a baby in another room taken care of by someone else her child though she doesn't say it , which might signal postpartum depression.
The woman narrating the story in a secret journal has a breathless, flightiness to her voice which seems all the sadder as she is consumed by the yellow wallpaper in her room, by the life she imagines the patterns have taken on. She becomes both more languid in her dealings with her husband and more manic in her journal, her voice infused with a shrill, unnerving energy. She sees women creeping about behind the wallpaper until she has pulled it all off and creeps around her room, having lost the tether to reality.
It's a short and worthwhile read, as is Gilman's biography included. View all 10 comments. Fans of stories with lots of subtext, classic horror readers. This is my second read of this story, and I gave it four stars this time. It's a very well-written story. Gilmore crafted this tale in such a way that you feel as twisted as the narrator does.
It's clear that mental illness plays a major role in the mindset of the narrator. But, there is a little shred of doubt at least in my mind that there might be some otherworldly component.
It's hard to tell, because we are seeing things through her perceptions, which are clearly not rational. I think This is my second read of this story, and I gave it four stars this time. I think there is a powerful message here. Husbands often had way too much control over their wives.
Probably still the case. The husband in this story treated his wife like she was a child. He dismissed her thoughts and needs, and constantly told her what was best for her. He didn't treat her like a partner. I think that his treatment of her played a role in her deterioration. I read about the author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, on Wikipedia.
She was a feminist who crusaded to help women in the time period in which she lived. I could see how she masterfully threaded some real-life themes into this story. It would give any reader something to think about, and I imagine it made a few people, particularly men, angry at the time in which it was published. This is considered a feminist work. I don't think that you have to be a feminist to appreciate this message. As an egalitarian, I definitely felt this message.
I felt sympathy for this woman. I think that she felt caged in and didn't have her needs met, and something inside of her twisted until she left sanity behind. It's quite a sad thing that the people who loved her contributed by their gentle neglect. If she had been listened to, and really heard, maybe things would have gone differently.
This is just my perception of this story. No doubt, a different reader will glean a dissimilar meaning from this work. In my opinion, The Yellow Wallpaper is a story that should be read more than one time.
I feel I encountered more subtext and layers upon the second read. I'll keep it on my Kindle, because it's one I would like to revisit. View all 7 comments. There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.
I get positively angry with the impertinence of it and the everlastingness. Up and down and sideways they crawl, and those absurd, unblinking eyes are everywhere. There is one place where two breadths didn't match, and the eyes go all up and down the line, one a little higher than the other.
Sure, the woman was obviously going insane prior to moving to this house with that vicious yellow wallpaper but honestly? If that worthless husband of hers would have just changed it when she told him to none of this would have happened. So I blame the husband. And that vicious yellow wallpaper. Published in the early s, The Yellow Wallpaper is one of the first recognized feminist pieces. It is the story of a woman who is considered to be of delicate disposition and health so she is isolated from everything.
In her isolation, she fixates on the crawling headless human shapes she sees in the tattered yellow wallpaper of her bedroom. It details a very infuriating treatment of a woman who has suffered some sort o Published in the early s, The Yellow Wallpaper is one of the first recognized feminist pieces.
It details a very infuriating treatment of a woman who has suffered some sort of breakdown. She is robbed of all, and I mean all stimulus, caring for her child included.
At the start of this short story, her narrative is lucid and apologetic because she finds her husband's control ministrations stifling. As the story moves along, we read about the devolution of her narrative. Everyone believed she was crazy, so she must be. It makes one appreciate to be alive in a time when we have full awareness of our rights and better understanding of mental health.
Apr 22, Adam rated it it was ok Shelves: This book stands out in my mind mainly because of an argument I had with our English teacher that lasted the length of an entire English class, over whether or not the room was actually originally a childrens' playroom, or some kind of sinister crazy-wife-locking-up-room.
And why would a children's playroom have weird metal rings on the walls and bars on the windows? View all 22 comments. Wow, this is a powerful short-story that makes quite a statement about insanity, the need of a woman to have choices and independence, and the unintentional cruelties of those who fail to listen or acknowledge another's suffering.
"The Yellow Wallpaper" (original title: "The Yellow Wall-paper. A Story") is a short story by American writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, first published in January in The New England Magazine.
wall-paper! At first he meant to repaper the room, but afterwards he said that I was letting it get the better of me, and that nothing was worse for a nervous patient than to give way to such fancies. He said that after the wall-paper was THE YELLOW WALL-PAPER. nence of it and the everlastingness. Up.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story "The Yellow Wall-paper" was written during a time of great change. In the early- to mid-nineteenth century, "domestic ideology" positioned American middle class women as the spiritual and moral leaders of their home. She is particularly disturbed by the yellow wallpaper in the bedroom, with its strange, formless pattern, and describes it as “revolting.” Soon, however, her thoughts are interrupted by John’s approach, and she is forced to stop writing.
The Yellow Wall Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman written in is considered a story that is a leading feminist view about a woman's place in a traditional marriage during that time period. Gilman herself was an intellectual voice and staunch supporter of women's rights in marriage/5. A summary of Themes in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Yellow Wallpaper and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.