The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story of the late 19th century. First appeared in The New England Magazine in 1892. The author was Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It is a major early work of feminist literature. Shows attitude toward women and their health in the nineteenth century.
The Yellow Wallpaper summary and a short review
This first person narrative explores the journal notes that a woman has written. Her husband named John rents an old house for summer time. Our protagonist is taken to that home for treatment of an unnamed illness. Her brother and husband are doctors and they agree that she will soon recover from her illness here.
They bring her here against her wish. Instead of the other rooms they stay upper floor in the nursery. The woman is forbidden from working, and they also advise her to eat well and take a complete rest. This will help her to recover from “temporary nervous depression”. Therefore, she keeps her journal out of her husband’s reach. The top stairs are closed by a gate and they also bar her room’s windows to keep children away from climbing.
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For mental health, fresh air and proper treatment are always good, but our protagonist has to suffer. Like a prisoner, she has to live in a room where the only thing to watch is a yellow wallpaper. The patterns of the wallpaper cause to increase her mental illness. As a result, she goes crazy with the design and colors of the wallpaper. She writes narratives from her imagined design. She believes in her illusion that a female is beyond in order to get her.
At the end the woman locks herself in the room and refuses John to unlock the door. When he opens the door with the key, he sees that she is touching the wallpaper and circling the room.
Through this story the author gave her point of view about a woman’s role in America at that time. She has described women’s poor life outside the home and some problems such as the harsh behavior of the patriarchal society. The men in the society think that women are submissive to men. The husband in the story often talks to his wife with some words of affection like my girl and lamb.