This was required reading in high school and I've liked it ever since. Ten years after first reading it, I tracked down a copy at a local thrift shop and re-read it. The afterword by Elaine R. Hedges puts a whole new spin on it--I saw where the author drew from in order to write this piece. Good, solid writing.
Thought at the time of publication to be a fictional horror story, this short story hits home for most women. Not to ruin the plot, but this is a story about post partum depression. An extreemely graphic thriller of a short story, and a critique of the swtory and post partum depression itself. A must have for all women.
Seven thought-provoking stories employ charm and humor to examine relations between the sexes from a feminist perspective. In addition to the title story, an 1892 classic that recounts a womans descent into madness, this collection includes "Cottagette," "Turned," "Mr. Peebles Heart," and more.
I read this wonderful, scary story in high school and never forgot it! A young mother is nearly driven mad by the patterns in the yellow wallpaper of her bedroom. I was THRILLED to find the story on audio cassette, as the performance of this story is even better than reading it. Here is an excerpt of why Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote this story!
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper" (1913)
This article originally appeared in the October 1913 issue of The Forerunner.
Many and many a reader has asked that. When the story first came out, in the New England Magazine about 1891, a Boston physician made protest in The Transcript. Such a story ought not to be written, he said; it was enough to drive anyone mad to read it. Another physician, in Kansas I think, wrote to say that it was the best description of incipient insanity he had ever seen, and--begging my pardon--had I been there?
Now the story of the story is this:
For many years I suffered from a severe and continuous nervous breakdown tending to melancholia--and beyond. During about the third year of this trouble I went, in devout faith and some faint stir of hope, to a noted specialist in nervous diseases, the best known in the country. This wise man put me to bed and applied the rest cure, to which a still-good physique responded so promptly that he concluded there was nothing much the matter with me, and sent me home with solemn advice to "live as domestic a life as far as possible," to "have but two hours' intellectual life a day," and "never to touch pen, brush, or pencil again" as long as I lived. This was in 1887.
I went home and obeyed those directions for some three months, and came so near the borderline of utter mental ruin that I could see over. Then, using the remnants of intelligence that remained, and helped by a wise friend, I cast the noted specialist's advice to the winds and went to work again--work, the normal life of every human being; work, in which is joy and growth and service, without which one is a pauper and a parasite--ultimately recovering some measure of power.
Being naturally moved to rejoicing by this narrow escape, I wrote The Yellow Wallpaper, with its embellishments and additions, to carry out the ideal (I never had hallucinations or objections to my mural decorations) and sent a copy to the physician who so nearly drove me mad. He never acknowledged it.
The little book is valued by alienists and as a good specimen of one kind of literature. It has, to my knowledge, saved one woman from a similar fate--so terrifying her family that they let her out into normal activity and she recovered.
But the best result is this. Many years later I was told that the great specialist had admitted to friends of his that he had altered his treatment of neurasthenia since reading The Yellow Wallpaper.
It was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked.
The book takes thought and depth to truly appreciate it. The Yellow Wallpaper explores mental illness during an era that didn't understand it. Post Partum came to my mind on completing this book. I liked it but it's a book I would save and reread.
Cay G. reviewed The Yellow Wallpaper (Feminist Press Reprint No. 3) on
"The Yellow Wallpaper" is one of my favorite stories because it is sooooo well written.
It is an early feminist story. So, if ou like that, ou will like this story. I got this copy to share with a friend. Enjoy!!!