Friday, March 13, 2009

The Yellow Wallpaper

This short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is not new to me, I read it in high school, but all I remembered was that I really liked it back then. I liked it now too, but probably understood it better, since I immediately got annoyed with the narrator's husband.

The narrator is a woman whose husband confined her in an upstairs room of a house, so that she can get 'better'. He, a physician, has diagnosed her with depression and hysteria, basically. She is now allowed to work, she can't see her child, she can't even write in her journals. She becomes obssessed with the wallpaper and imagines that a woman is trapped in it. Eventually she starts believing that she IS the woman behind the bars in the wallpaper.

All I kept thinking about was feminism and how the woman's husband belittles her and her opinions about what's best for her. He says to her one time: "Bless her little heart!" said he with a big hug, "she shall be as sick as she pleases!" How condescending is that?? He really made me angry.

Apparently, many people think that the story is feminist and about attitudes towards women's mental health in those years (the story was published in 1891). I think so too.

This was another one of my Daily Lit adventures. I'm really getting into short stories this way! :-)

2 comments:

Trish said...

It's been a long long time since I've read this one too--you've really made me want to revisit it!

Iliana said...

I read this one a while ago too but should revisit it. Maybe that'll be my next Daily Lit pick :)