TITLE: The Yellow Wallpaper
AUTHOR: Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Yellow Wallpaper is a novella inspired by Charlotte’s own experience with postpartum depression.
This story originated in the 1800s when women were neglected and suppressed in a patriarchal society and men were the symbol of power and control. When women were trapped in social norms and men had authority over them.
Control is a slippery slope, whether you are under one or trying to gain over someone, one slip and it could lead to catastrophe.
John, the husband in the story portrays the male dominant personality. He being an alleged loving and caring husband, keeps our narrator/protagonist under his ‘care’ and calls his wife’s episodes a mere ‘hysteria’.
John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage.
The book captures mental deterioration graphically. Being a novella, the story is not rushed, rather it gives its readers time to sink in with the protagonist’s emotions.
Depression is a mental prison which keeps one enslaved within its walls of unfathomable sorrow. Mostly, people believe in what they see which is why it’s harder for them to see an invisible illness. But in earlier times when people weren’t too versed with mental illnesses, they belittled the ones who claimed of having them.
The author of this book is no stranger to such reactions. When she could not find her voice due to irrational norms set by society, she engraved her story on paper instead.
The Yellow Wallpaper is a story about our protagonist’s struggle, not just with depression but also with finding control in her life. This book is filled with horrifying imagery which places us closer to understanding the state of such people and the more we get closer, the harder it gets for us to keep looking.