Literature Meme → Short Stories (1/8): The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
First published in 1892, The Yellow Wall-Paper is written as the secret journal of a woman who, failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country rest cure. Though she longs to write, her husband and doctor forbid it, prescribing instead complete passivity. In the involuntary confinement of her bedroom, the hero creates a reality of her own beyond the hypnotic pattern of the faded yellow wallpaper – a pattern that has come to symbolize her own imprisonment. Narrated with superb psychological and dramatic precision, The Yellow Wall-Paper stands out not only for the imaginative authenticity with which it depicts one woman’s descent into insanity, but also for the power of its testimony to the importance of freedom and self-empowerment for women.
“Women are pretty much people, seems to me. I know they dress like fools - but who’s to blame for that? We invent all those idiotic hats of theirs, and design their crazy fashions, and, what’s more, if a woman is courageous enough to wear common-sense clothes - and shoes - which of us wants to dance with her?”