Notes on Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wall-paper'
Charlotte Perkins Gilman published “The Yellow Wall-paper” in 1892. She wrote in California while undergoing the “west” treatment for postpartum depression, which was not a diagnosable condition at the time and often treated with a rest cure.
Isolation – in a literal space and in mental state
Husband and brother say “There is nothing wrong.” Rather than “I can’t find anything.”
Practical vs. the creative
Adult vs. child
Husband as father with wife’s justifications: “He’s very careful and loving and hardly lets me stir without special direction.” Sounds controlling and abusive.
Relationship is not about interdependence but codependence.
“I am glad my case is not serious.” Irony and rationalization
(When everyone, and those most trusted, tell you that you’re crazy, how will you see yourself?)
(People don’t understand writers.)
No real stimulation – repetitive, even the walks in the garden.
Expression of care for the child? “wouldn’t have him in this world.”
(Sleep all I can = inertia)
(Which woman is behind the bars? You come to covet your jailer – “nobody shall find it out” but me.)
(What if the paper represents depression and the narrator is the person behind the paper?)
At the beginning she talks about confessing to dead paper, but later she talks about confessing to it as if it were a person.
She becomes the woman behind the wall-paper
“Now why should that man have fainted?” (Did she kill him?) There is no clear ending.