A site dedicated to Charlotte Perkins Gilmanprominent American short story and non-fiction writer, novelist, commercial artist, lecturer and feminist social reformer, and her life, her works, and her contemporaries. When the story first came out, in the New England Magazine abouta Boston physician made protest in The Transcript.
A site dedicated to Charlotte Perkins Gilmanprominent American short story and non-fiction writer, novelist, commercial artist, lecturer and feminist social reformer, and her life, her works, and her contemporaries. Monday, April 14, III. Fiction "With a Purpose" vs.
Literary Interpretation of the Subtext Even before The Yellow Wallpaper was published, the story sparked controversy throughout literary circles; when William Dean Howells submitted the story to Atlantic Monthly editor H.
Scudder, the latter rejected it and included the following message: Howells handed me this story. I could not forgive myself if I made others as miserable as I have made myself!
Conrad Shumaker explains that the nineteenth-century editor, critic, and reader did not have the cultural background required in order to accept, even as a horror story, the premise of a middle-class wife and mother slipping into insanity, even though the concept of madness was not exactly revolutionary in fiction, i.
Scudder's reaction is not at all surprising. When The Yellow Wallpaper was finally published in The New England Magazine in Maypublic reaction was strong; in many ways, Gilman had succeeded too well in conveying the horror of her mental distress.
For example, in a letter to the editor published in the Boston Transcript, "M. Apparently, many of Gilman's contemporaries echoed M. Not all reaction was negative, however, although praise seemed to be limited to the work's medical accuracy. In an unpublished letter to Gilman, Dr.
Brummel Jones writes I am overwhelmed with the delicacy of your touch and the correctness of your portrayal.
From a doctor's standpoint, and I am a doctor, you have made a success. So far as I know, and I am fairly well up in literature, there has been no detailed account of incipient insanity qtd.
Obviously, Jones was reading the story on a superficial level, thus fulfilling Gilman's first and primary purpose of informing the medical profession.
And untilreaders tended to view The Yellow Wallpaper primarily "as a Poe-esque tale of chilling horror--and as a story of mental aberration" Hedges In the "Afterword" of the Feminist Press revival of The Yellow Wallpaper, Elaine Hedges offers the first feminist interpretation of this work; she postulates that the piece is basically a feminist document, "dealing with sexual politics at a time when few writers felt free to do so, at least candidly" What makes Hedges' interpretation so rich and so plausible is her insistence that a reader should not separate author from storyand to that end outlines a brief biographical sketch.
Vivian Gornick offers a unique interpretation; in reviewing Anna, a "dairy" written by David Reed, an English writer whose wife had fought depression for years and then finally succumbed to her illness by killing herself, the reviewer uses The Yellow Wallpaper as comparison--except that in Anna, the narrator is the husband, the one who "suffers" from guilt.
After Anna kills herself, David reads her papers and discovers that, unknowingly, he had been smothering his wife in ways that John smothers Gilman's character. Gornick says, "Perhaps" is the operative word here; the word that is at the heart of the matter; the word that makes David Reed the husband in "The Yellow Wallpaper.
Perhaps she did feel caged Gornick seems to imply that had Gilman's protagonist killed herself, John might have experienced David's epiphany, and then felt some of the same agony and guilt that David feels when he realizes that, in large part, he is responsible for his wife's suicide.
Although Gornick's theory is an interesting one, it is mainly speculation, for, from a textual standpoint, the reader does not get an adequate view of John's feelings. We get only a glimmer of what might be going through his head, and the viewpoint is still the protagonist's: There is nothing so dangerous, so fascinating, to a temperament like yours.
It is a false and foolish fancy.Insanity in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," a nervous wife, an overprotective husband, and a large, dank room covered in musty wallpaper all play important parts in driving the wife insane.
A concept known as "material feminism" emerged which influenced Charlotte Perkins Gilman's ideas. This movement was based on the "conviction that the exploitation of women's domestic labor was central to the perpetuation of sexual inequality"(Allen 20).
Insanity and Feminism in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman reflects the intense struggle with of a woman during the late ’s. Charlotte Perkins Gilman shows that feminism was not acceptable before the mid-nineteen hundreds and sometimes is not accepted today.
While the main character, who is unnamed throughout the story, is a prisoner of the yellow wallpaper and a prisoner of society itself, she fights to keep her sanity.
Gubar, Susan. "She in Herland: Feminism as Fantasy." in Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Woman and Her Work. Ed. Sheryl L.
Meyering. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, – Hill, Mary Armfield. "Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Journey From Within." in A Very Different Story: Studies on the Fiction of Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
Eds. The Feminism of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Sexualities, Works by Charlotte Perkins Gilman at Project Gutenberg; Works by or about Charlotte Perkins Gilman at Internet Archive; Works by Charlotte Perkins Gilman at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks) "A Guide for Research Materials".