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Yellow wallpaper writen by charlotte perkins gilman

Though later gaining recognition as a journalist and social critic rather than an author of fiction, Gilman is best known for this brief and extraordinary piece of writing published in 1892.

Rest, take tonics, air and exercise. There she is to rest, take tonics, air and exercise — and absolutely forbidden to engage in intellectual work until well again.

The Yellow Wallpaper

The room her husband selects as their bedroom, though large, airy and bright, is barred at the window and furnished with a bed that is bolted to the floor. The wallpaper is torn, the floor scratched and gouged. Perhaps, the narrator muses, it had once been a nursery or playroom.

The narrator spends much of her days being cared for — and often left alone — in this room, reading, attempting to write though the subterfuge this involved leaves her weary, she noted and, increasingly, watching the wallpaper, as it starts to take on a life of its own. Nervous exhaustion The story highlights the plight of many women during the 19th century.

All women were seen by physicians as susceptible to ill health and mental breakdown by reason of their biological weakness and reproductive cycles.

And those who were creative and ambitious were deemed even more at risk.

The protagonist of the story might have been suffering from puerperal insanitya severe form of mental illness labelled in the early 19th century and claimed by doctors to be triggered by the mental and physical strain of giving birth.

The condition captured the interest of both psychiatrists and obstetricians, and its treatment involved quietening the nervous system and restoring the strength of the patient. Neurasthenia took hold in modernising America in the closing decades of the 19th century, as incessant work was said to ruin the mental health of its citizens.

Women were reported to be putting themselves at risk of nervous collapse with their eagerness to take on roles unsuited to their gender, including higher education or political activities. Behind it, dim shapes get clearer by the day, sometimes of many women, sometimes one, stooping down and creeping about behind the pattern.

  • Yet historical scholarship has also suggested that some well-to-do and educated women might also have helped shape their own diagnoses or used their illness to avoid domestic duties that they found unpleasant or taxing;
  • It has, to my knowledge, saved one woman from a similar fate--so terrifying her family that they let her out into normal activity and she recovered;
  • This was in 1887;
  • The narrator spends much of her days being cared for — and often left alone — in this room, reading, attempting to write though the subterfuge this involved leaves her weary, she noted and, increasingly, watching the wallpaper, as it starts to take on a life of its own;
  • The protagonist of the story might have been suffering from puerperal insanity , a severe form of mental illness labelled in the early 19th century and claimed by doctors to be triggered by the mental and physical strain of giving birth.

Her husband, on opening the door, collapses as the narrator declares: Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time!

Readers are left to reach their own conclusions.

  • Such a story ought not to be written, he said; it was enough to drive anyone mad to read it;
  • Though later gaining recognition as a journalist and social critic rather than an author of fiction, Gilman is best known for this brief and extraordinary piece of writing published in 1892;
  • The narrator spends much of her days being cared for — and often left alone — in this room, reading, attempting to write though the subterfuge this involved leaves her weary, she noted and, increasingly, watching the wallpaper, as it starts to take on a life of its own;
  • It was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked;
  • Yet historical scholarship has also suggested that some well-to-do and educated women might also have helped shape their own diagnoses or used their illness to avoid domestic duties that they found unpleasant or taxing;
  • Mitchell, largely through his treatment of Gilman and her later description of this, gained a notorious reputation, and he may well have misdiagnosed her or believed that her intellectual pursuits were too introspective.

The Yellow Wallpaper illuminates the challenges of being a woman of ambition in the late 19th century. While all women were seen vulnerable, those who expressed political ambition suffrage reformersor who took on male roles and challenged female dress codes New Womenor who sought higher education or creative lives — or even read too much fiction — could be accused of flouting female conventions and placing themselves at risk of mental illness.

Mitchell, largely through his treatment of Gilman and her later description of this, gained a notorious reputation, and he may well have misdiagnosed her or believed that her intellectual pursuits were too introspective.

Yet historical scholarship has also suggested that some well-to-do and educated women might also have helped shape their own diagnoses or used their illness to avoid domestic duties that they found unpleasant or taxing.

Escape from the wallpaper

Not all doctors condemned women for their ambition — many advocated more rounded lives embracing intellectual and physical pursuits alongside domestic roles. Other patients treated by Mitchell, including the critic and historian Amelia Gere Mason and writer Sarah Butler Wister, tailored their treatments to suit their lifestyles, with Mitchell encouraging their intellectual and creative pursuits.

  • But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time!
  • There she is to rest, take tonics, air and exercise — and absolutely forbidden to engage in intellectual work until well again;
  • All women were seen by physicians as susceptible to ill health and mental breakdown by reason of their biological weakness and reproductive cycles;
  • All women were seen by physicians as susceptible to ill health and mental breakdown by reason of their biological weakness and reproductive cycles;
  • The condition captured the interest of both psychiatrists and obstetricians, and its treatment involved quietening the nervous system and restoring the strength of the patient;
  • The protagonist of the story might have been suffering from puerperal insanity , a severe form of mental illness labelled in the early 19th century and claimed by doctors to be triggered by the mental and physical strain of giving birth.

Writing years later about the short story, Gilman described how it was written to celebrate her narrow escape from utter mental ruin. A copy was sent to Mitchell but did not receive a response.