“The Yellow Wall-Paper”

Joseph Henry Hatfield?, illustrator. First page of “The Yellow Wall-Paper” by Charlotte Perkins Stetson [Gilman]. The New England Magazine, January 1892. Image from Cornell University Library via HathiTrust.

In 1892, Charlotte Perkins Stetson, later Gilman, published “The Yellow Wallpaper” in the New England Magazine, an illustrated literary monthly. A semi-autobiographical tale, Gilman’s story relays through her first-person narrator a woman’s postpartum depression and the treatment she receives, modeled on Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell’s “Rest Cure.” Through the narrator’s struggle with what is labeled as a nervous breakdown, Gilman exposes the abuse of the patriarchy by showing how the husband controls the narrator. Gilman was a proponent of women’s rights and pursued a career in writing. She was living proof that women were creative and ambitious and shouldn’t be imprisoned in the home.

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