What do you think of when we say the words "psychological treatment"? If you're anything like most denizens of the 21st Century, you probably thought of counselors' offices. Prescriptions for anti-anxiety medication. Talking it out with a shrink. Maybe a soothing yoga routine. You probably didn't hear the words "psychological treatment" and think "Oooh, oooh: I know—being forced to lie in bed and do literally nothing for weeks! And that's because you don't live in the 's, a.
But way back in , Charlotte Perkins Gilman went to see a specialist in the hope of curing her recurring nervous breakdowns. The specialist recommended a "rest cure," which consisted of lying in bed all day and engaging in intellectual activity for only two hours a day. After three months, Gilman says, she was "near the borderline of utter mental ruin. For the first decades of its life, "The Yellow Wallpaper" was read as a piece of horror fiction firmly situated in the Gothic genre.
And we're not terribly shocked by this: But according to Gilman, the short story was never intended as a Gothic horror, but rather as a cautionary tale about what supposed "rest cures" could do to the mental stability of patients. Her best remembered work today is her semi-autobiographical short story " The Yellow Wallpaper ", which she wrote after a severe bout of postpartum psychosis. She had only one brother, Thomas Adie, who was fourteen months older, because a physician advised Mary Perkins that she might die if she bore other children.
During Charlotte's infancy, her father moved out and abandoned his wife and children, and the remainder of her childhood was spent in poverty.
Her schooling was erratic: Her mother was not affectionate with her children. To keep them from getting hurt as she had been, she forbade her children to make strong friendships or read fiction. In her autobiography, The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman , Gilman wrote that her mother showed affection only when she thought her young daughter was asleep.
Additionally, her father's love for literature influenced her, and years later he contacted her with a list of books he felt would be worthwhile for her to read. Much of Gilman's youth was spent in Providence, Rhode Island. What friends she had were mainly male, and she was unashamed, for her time, to call herself a "tomboy. Her natural intelligence and breadth of knowledge always impressed her teachers, who were nonetheless disappointed in her because she was a poor student.
In , the eighteen-year-old enrolled in classes at the Rhode Island School of Design with the monetary help of her absent father,  and subsequently supported herself as an artist of trade cards.
She was a tutor, and encouraged others to expand their artistic creativity. In , she married the artist Charles Walter Stetson , after initially declining his proposal because a gut feeling told her it was not the right thing for her. Charlotte Perkins Gilman suffered a very serious bout of post-partum depression. This was an age in which women were seen as "hysterical" and "nervous" beings; thus, when a woman claimed to be seriously ill after giving birth, her claims were sometimes dismissed.
In , Charlotte separated from her husband — a rare occurrence in the late nineteenth century. The two divorced in In , Gilman sent her daughter east to live with her former husband and his second wife, her friend Grace Ellery Channing.
Gilman reported in her memoir that she was happy for the couple, since Katharine's "second mother was fully as good as the first, [and perhaps] better in some ways. After her mother died in , Gilman decided to move back east for the first time in eight years. She contacted Houghton Gilman, her first cousin , whom she had not seen in roughly fifteen years, who was a Wall Street attorney.
They began spending a significant amount of time together almost immediately and became romantically involved. While she would go on lecture tours , Houghton and Charlotte would exchange letters and spend as much time as they could together before she left. In her diaries, she describes him as being "pleasurable" and it is clear that she was deeply interested in him. Their marriage was nothing like her first one. Following Houghton's sudden death from a cerebral hemorrhage in , Gilman moved back to Pasadena, California, where her daughter lived.
In January , Gilman was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer. In both her autobiography and suicide note, she wrote that she "chose chloroform over cancer" and she died quickly and quietly. At one point, Gilman supported herself by selling soap door to door. After moving to Pasadena, Gilman became active in organizing social reform movements. Throughout that same year, , she became inspired enough to write fifteen essays, poems, a novella, and the short story The Yellow Wallpaper.
Her career was launched when she began lecturing on Nationalism and gained the public's eye with her first volume of poetry, In This Our World , published in In , Gilman wrote her short story " The Yellow Wallpaper ",  which is now the all-time best selling book of the Feminist Press. For instance, many textbooks omit the phrase "in marriage" from a very important line in the beginning of story: The story is about a woman who suffers from mental illness after three months of being closeted in a room by her husband for the sake of her health.
She becomes obsessed with the room's revolting yellow wallpaper. Gilman wrote this story to change people's minds about the role of women in society, illustrating how women's lack of autonomy is detrimental to their mental, emotional, and even physical wellbeing. This story was inspired by her treatment from her first husband. Silas Weir Mitchell , and she sent him a copy of the story. Gilman's first book was Art Gems for the Home and Fireside ; however, it was her first volume of poetry, In This Our World , a collection of satirical poems, that first brought her recognition.
During the next two decades she gained much of her fame with lectures on women's issues, ethics, labor, human rights, and social reform. In —95 Gilman served as editor of the magazine The Impress , a literary weekly that was published by the Pacific Coast Women's Press Association formerly the Bulletin. For the twenty weeks the magazine was printed, she was consumed in the satisfying accomplishment of contributing its poems, editorials, and other articles.
The short-lived paper's printing came to an end as a result of a social bias against her lifestyle which included being an unconventional mother and a woman who had divorced a man. This book discussed the role of women in the home, arguing for changes in the practices of child-raising and housekeeping to alleviate pressures from women and potentially allow them to expand their work to the public sphere.
The first entry details the circumstances under which she and her husband have come to the estate. Her symptoms are unclear, but John is adamant that nothing is really wrong with her. Because John is a respected physician, the narrator does not question his authority.
The narrator describes her sense of personal failure at being unable to function as she believes John expects her to. He is frequently absent from the home, and she is often too exhausted to write and too nervous to see their child, who is cared for by a nanny. John scoffs at her requests to repaper their bedroom or relocate to another one.
She limits her physical activity and spends more time lying down in her room.
"The Yellow Wallpaper" (original title: "The Yellow Wall-paper. A Story") is a short story by American writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, first published in January in The New England Magazine.
wall-paper! At first he meant to repaper the room, but afterwards he said that I was letting it get the better of me, and that nothing was worse for a nervous patient than to give way to such fancies. He said that after the wall-paper was THE YELLOW WALL-PAPER. nence of it and the everlastingness. Up.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story "The Yellow Wall-paper" was written during a time of great change. In the early- to mid-nineteenth century, "domestic ideology" positioned American middle class women as the spiritual and moral leaders of their home. She is particularly disturbed by the yellow wallpaper in the bedroom, with its strange, formless pattern, and describes it as “revolting.” Soon, however, her thoughts are interrupted by John’s approach, and she is forced to stop writing.
The Yellow Wall Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman written in is considered a story that is a leading feminist view about a woman's place in a traditional marriage during that time period. Gilman herself was an intellectual voice and staunch supporter of women's rights in marriage/5. A summary of Themes in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Yellow Wallpaper and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.