A Review of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”
It has been a while since I read this book and now only I thought of writing a review for it.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a classic feminist work that remains relevant even today. It is a chilling and haunting short story that explores the mental deterioration of a woman after being confined to a room and subjected to rest as a cure during her postpartum period.
The story is told through the eyes of the protagonist, a nameless woman, who is suffering from what is most likely postpartum depression. Her husband, who is also a physician, prescribes her the rest cure, which involves complete rest and isolation from the outside world. The woman is confined to a room with yellow wallpaper, which she finds repulsive and tries to remove but is prevented from doing so.
The wallpaper becomes an obsession for the protagonist, and she starts to see a woman trapped behind the pattern. The woman in the wallpaper represents the protagonist’s own mental state, as she is trapped by her husband’s and society’s expectations of her. The wallpaper is a metaphor for the social and medical oppression of women during the late 19th century.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was inspired to write “The Yellow Wallpaper” after her own experience with the rest cure, which was a popular treatment for women’s mental health at the time. She wrote the story as a critique of the medical establishment’s treatment of women and as a call for women’s emancipation.
The discussion of women’s mental health was a topic that received little attention in fictional literature, with only a select few authors like Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath daring to delve into this taboo subject matter. Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” and Plath’s “The Bell Jar” are both exceptional works by female writers that shed light on the struggles faced by women with regard to their mental well-being. If you are intrigued by their works, be sure to check out my previous articles on authors who died by suicide, as well as my review of Plath’s “The Bell Jar” to gain a deeper understanding of their literary contributions.
The writing style of “The Yellow Wallpaper” is unique and adds to the eerie atmosphere of the story. It is written in the form of a diary or a letter, with the protagonist’s thoughts and feelings being recorded on the page. The language is simple and straightforward, but the story is powerful and thought-provoking.
The story’s ending is ambiguous and has been interpreted in different ways. Some readers see it as a triumphant moment for the protagonist, as she has finally broken free from her confinement. Others view it as a tragic ending, as the protagonist has completely lost touch with reality.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a seminal work in feminist literature and a must-read for anyone interested in the history of women’s rights. It is a story that has stood the test of time and continues to be relevant even today, as women continue to face oppression and discrimination in various forms.
The Youtube short film The Yellow Paper is an adaptation of the original story told from a different perspective. Regardless, it is a new side to explore further into the mental health aspect.
In conclusion, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a powerful and haunting story that explores the themes of women’s oppression, mental health, and societal expectations. It is a must-read for anyone interested in feminist literature and a testament to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s talent as a writer. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good horror story with a deeper message.