The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

yellowwallpaper_charlotteperkinsgilmanThe Yellow Wallpaper is a short fictional story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It was written in the late 1800’s and tells the story of the daily life of an average woman living in the late 1800’s. The main character’s name is not revealed, but is referred to as The Narrator. The narrator is suffering from postpartum depression, which is condition where women are ill or depressed after giving birth and seeks to find help.

I really enjoyed this short story as it related to the reality of women being treated poorly and unequally. Back then, men believed that women should just stay put at home and do nothing because they did not want them to stress about working hard shifts like men did. They also believed that women should not be educated because it will make them even more stressed. In The Yellow Wallpaper, the narrator does have a male physician to make her feel better, but the physician only tells her to do nothing at home and did not even bother to give her any medications as physicians would normally do in today’s world.

While she is at home, the narrator starts having hallucinations as she sees yellow wallpaper. She stares mysteriously at it and believes that the color carries horrible symbolism. She believes that the yellow wallpaper is intriguing as it gives her something to do in her life rather than sitting and doing nothing all day. This relates to sarcasm and the average woman living in the late 1800’s because it relates to how women had nothing to do everyday and was desperately looking for a hobby that intrigues them; although, staring at a wallpaper would not intrigue anyone. Considering how she is at a state of having hallucinations, she does not notice that she is actually in a house that is meant for the mentally ill as the beds are similar to those of mental hospitals. Also, another example of how she is suffering from hallucinations is that she believes that the physician is actually her husband. Overall, I would recommend reading this story as it was very interesting due to how it influenced thought on the treatment of women and how it should be changed.

-Matt J.

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