The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Hello Readers,

I fell in love with this book after listening to it as part of a horror anthology on audible. I have already done a miniature review, but I have since reread the short story and I got a little in my head about themes and hidden meaning. I guess what I really mean is I have probably over analysed this book.

One thing I will say that I preferred reading the short story over the audiobook despite loving the audio. The story somehow seemed darker despite being exactly the same I guess that says more about the inside of my head than I care to address.

The Yellow Wallpaper is not a ghost story in the typical sense there are no ghouls or phantoms but it’s a different type of horror story.  Great horror story are not just full of shock, horror and gore they give you the feeling of despair and you can’t help but empathise with the darkness and emotional turmoil of the narrator.

Women's mental problems have always been dismissed as hysteria, throughout history and is word that is still used today. For context, this short story was written in 1892. Seven years after this short story was written “insanity symptoms” for women included studying, not smiling enough, being interested in politics, and overusing their limited female mental powers. I dread to think what was considered as overusing their limited female mental powers.

Our poor protagonist suffers under a patriarchal society and is in the countryside for 'treatment' for her depression. Also, upon finding out that the nurse cares for her baby, I think its safe to assume that the poor woman is suffering from postpartum depression, leading to a mental breakdown. I know dear Reader this is a fictional woman but the judgement of the others in her family including her 'physician' husband and brother annoyed me. You just know this happened to some poor woman in history.

Both her husband and brother believe that women are for the most part subservient to men. As a result, the suffering woman is brought to the country against her better wishes for treatment. The rage I felt when this poor woman was prescribed a ‘rest cure’ which meant that she had to stay in bed all day and was only allowed two hours a day to fit in all the tasks there were considered mental stimulation.

With nothing to do for the other eight-ish hours of the day she gets obsessed with the colour and pattern of the wallpaper which sends her deeper into her unsteady mental state. She creates stories out of the paisley design and believes a woman from the paper is out to get her.

This book might just be sixty-three pages, but it will stick you and possibly make you reflect on your life, relationships, and mental health.

L x

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