The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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The road to insanity is paved with good intentions “The Yellow Wallpaper” is the most renown short story of Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935). It starts as a spine-chilling probably-horror-story that then becomes, even more, terrifying when we realize what extremes human mind can reach when put in inadequate conditions, even without any supernatural elements to interfere. We’ve learned from Charlotte Perkins’ article “Why I Wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’” that there was a lot of speculation held about the motives behind this short story, so she decided to shed some light on it. Though it may seem that the author described the fall into madness so vividly and in such a detail simply to gain attention and draw in more readers, that’s only a part of the story. From her biography, we discover that after marrying Charles Walter Stetson in 1884 and giving birth to a child the following year, she “was beset by a crippling depression” (World Authors 1900-1950). It was believed to have started as a postpartum but kept returning throughout her entire life. In her article Perkins acknowledges that for many years she suffered from “a severe and continuous nervous breakdown tending to melancholia,” (Why I Wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’), and even worse. In hope to get a proper treatment she contacted the most prominent specialist of women’s nervous disorders of the time - Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell. His recommendations were exactly what was to be expected from a man of the nineteenth
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