Years ago, when I first read “The Yellow Wall-Paper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, I wasn’t able to articulate all of the emotions that this short story invoked in me. Even now it is difficult to sum it all up.
Published in 1892, it is a narrative of Gilman’s personal experience with depression. Like the narrator in this short story (who suffers from postpartum depression), she sought medical help from a famous neurologist and was prescribed a rest cure, which was common at the time. This “cure” included rest from reading, writing (thinking), and physical activity.
The Yellow Wall-Paper offers insights into Gilman’s own feminism and into roles women were publicly growing tired of in the late 1890’s. Although it was published over a century ago, this 6000-word narrative still echoes today.
In the following Sound Cloud link, I’ve only read out a few paragraphs. To read the story in full, check it out at your local library.
Click the “play” button to have a listen…