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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.
Hilary Marland does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
“These nervous troubles are dreadfully depressing”, wrote Charlotte Perkins Gilman in her short story, The Yellow Wallpaper.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.
The Yellow Wallpaper is a feminist short story by Charlotte Perkins- Gilman.
In her autobiography, published in 1935, Gilman wrote of the “dragging weariness … Absolute misery” following the birth of her daughter that led her to consult Dr Mitchell.
The story can also be seen as a rich account of neurasthenia or nervous exhaustion, a disorder first defined by Mitchell in his book Wear and Tear, or Hints for the Overworked in 1871.This is not an example of the work produced by our Essay Writing Service.You can view samples of our professional work here.There she is to rest, take tonics, air and exercise – and absolutely forbidden to engage in intellectual work until well again. 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.For Gilman, her divorce proceedings, rare enough at the time to be announced as a “scandal” in various American newspapers, began in the same year as The Yellow Wallpaper was published, and she became increasingly active in the women’s movement.Writing years later about the short story, Gilman described how it was written to celebrate her narrow escape from utter mental ruin.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.Behind it, dim shapes get clearer by the day, sometimes of many women, sometimes one, stooping down and creeping about behind the pattern.At the end of the story the narrator takes the opportunity of her husband’s absence to lock the door and tear away the wallpaper, the women now creeping outside in the garden.