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Reviews of Yellow Wallpaper and Other Writings, the (1989)

Review by Tamarah (2003-04-10)
I doubt it was only my university that made its students read "The Yellow Wallpaper" every year, but even being out of college I find myself re-reading Gilman's story and examining the very wallpaper she spent so much time contemplating, herself.

The history behind this story lies between the sheets of the bedridden women who suffered from postpartum depression in the 19th century. Women were advised to be inactive - to the extent that even writing in a journal or playing with their child was forbidden. Gilman saw the horrific tendency of suicides due to this prescription of isolation, as well as other terrible effects such as madness and further depression. This story was written primarily for the medical community in England, to promote awareness of the severity of this illness and the mistreatment doctors were prescribing these women.

The scenario the main character found herself in was secluded in the top room of a rented home in England. She had nothing to do in this room but write in her secret journal and stare at the yellow wallpaper that lined the walls of her locked room. Over time she notices patterns in the swirls of the roses in the walls, behind the lines that became bars. She wondered about this woman constantly: how this woman behind the bars got herself behind the bars, or why she wandered the garden at nights; the woman behind the bars was free, unlike the main character. Madness descended on this woman and she was convinced that she was the woman in the wallpaper; and the last we saw of the room was her husband fainting in the doorway when he saw his lost wife "creeping" around the walls.

©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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