READING: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

13 Dec

Reading: “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Why you should be reading: Perspective

(Photo Credit)

Last week I covered The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, which I adored on a couple levels, but most importantly, the book really made me take a look at the masculine perspective in literature, which I’d really been lacking in my literary experience.

This week, I’m covering a classic in the female perspective. In a similar experience to mine with The Sun Also Rises, I’ve had a couple of male friends who’ve claimed they saw new insight into the female mind after reading “The Yellow Wallpaper.”

Considered a staple of feminist literature, the novel is told in epistolary format, of journal entries. It tells the story of the unnamed narrator, who had recently had a child, and is suffering from some mental issues. Modern medicine tells us, she’s suffering from postpartum depression, though at the time, women were considered more fragile, and thought to be prone to vague and mysterious mental and physical conditions.

Her husband, a doctor, prescribes her with treatment. To be locked in a room in their new home. Indefinitely. He controls whether or not she can leave the house, who she can speak with, and even whether or not she can write in the journal.

As time goes on, she becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper in her room. She is desperate to release the women who are stuck behind the pattern. Yes, in short, she looses her ever-loving mind. In the end, the woman (spoiler alert) is found walking the room, rubbing her shoulder up against the wall as she circuits the room. She has done this so many times, the wallpaper has actually blurred.

I was actually so stunned and creeped out when I read this, my reaction was just something like THIS.

I’m not the only person I know who was really changed by “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Lots of men I’ve met were just as creeped out and disturbed as I was. It was an awakening to the female perspective in literature, and that’s why everyone should read it. Especially if you like to be creeped-out. I shudder just thinking about it.


What do you think? Have you read it? Do you think it’s creepy? Have you read literature that gave yo a similar awakening of some kind? Let me know!




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