Top positive review
19th century woman dealing with depression
6 February 2019
The yellow wall-paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (short story)
First published in 1892
Main character is an unnamed woman who along with her 'loving' husband, sister-in-law and newborn child moves to a colonial mansion (which feels like a haunted house to her) for 3 months for the summer and soon becomes obsessed with the yellow wall-paper in the room studying its patterns, designs and colour. She further discovers a sub-pattern of a trapped woman (creeping) behind the patterns of the wall-paper which she must free at any cost. Her obsession increases everyday and we follow her journey through isolation, obsession and madness.
The setting of the story is really creepy. It covers two very important issues which are faced by women in the society till date. Firstly, being a very bold feminist manifesto for its time it shows how the 19th century women were trapped in their houses and were expected to be good housekeepers and nothing apart from domestic help was expected from them by curbing their desires to 'work' and suppression of their opinions which we can relate to many times when the husband cuts her short every time she tries to express herself about how the wallpaper bothered her. Secondly, it deals with the social stigma around mental health and how if you have a loving and earning husband and child you can't have reasons to be depressed and many a times the depression goes untreated and reaches extreme stage of madness.
We see the story to be influenced a lot by the author's own life where she divorced her husband and also sent the physician who was treating her and had prescribed her 'rest cure' a copy of this story.
Do I recommend? Yes. Absolutely. I loved every bit of it. The descriptions of the wallpaper never get boring because as the character keeps describing it and discovering new things about the paper, we understand the complexity of her mind.
This edition also has two other short stories 'The Rocking Chair' and 'Old Water' by the author.