|09-20-2007, 11:22 AM||#1|
Join Date: May 2007
Location: South Wales, UK
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Gilman, Charlotte Perkins: The Yellow Wallpaper, v1, 20 Sept 2007.
A classic Gothic, feminist short story
"The Yellow Wallpaper" is a short story by author Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It took merely two days to write, but was at first rejected in 1891 by a Boston physician who made a protest in The Transcript. He claimed such a story ought not to be written, since it was enough to drive anyone mad to read it. An editor as well claimed the story made him feel "miserable", and therefore did not want society to be subjected to similar feelings. It was first published, however, in 1892 in The New England Magazine. The story did not receive much serious attention until American writer and critic William Dean Howells published it in his The Great Modern American Stories in 1920. By 1973, "The Yellow Wallpaper" already had ten reprintings. The widest currency the story ever received however was through the Feminist Press and is now considered the best seller for that publishing company.
Told in first-person perspective--in the form of a series of journal entries--the story details the descent into madness of an unnamed woman suffering from what her physician husband John describes as a "temporary nervous depression — a slight hysterical tendency." John believes it is in the narrator's best interest to go on a rest cure, since he only credits what is observable and scientific. He serves as his wife's physician, therefore treating her like a powerless patient. The story hints that part of the woman's problem is that she recently gave birth to a child, insinuating she may be suffering from what would, in modern times, be called postpartum depression. While on vacation for the summer at a colonial mansion, the narrator senses "something queer about it." The narrator is confined in an upstairs room to recuperate by her well-meaning but dictatorial and oblivious husband, but this treatment only exacerbates her depression.
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