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The Yellow Wall-Paper, Herland, and Selected Writings

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was America’s foremost feminist thinker of the early twentieth century. Her most famous work, The Yellow Wallpaper, was first published in 1892 and still resonates with a powerful representation of mental health and issues around women’s creativity and self-expression.

Its narrator is a middle-class woman married to a physician. Suffering from post-natal depression, her husband “does not believe that I am sick!” beyond having a “slightly hysterical tendency”. And so he and her brother (also a doctor) have decreed that she simply needs to take air and exercise and not work (i.e. write) until she is well again. Never mind that she believes that “congenial work with excitement and change, would do me good”. Her agency removed, she starts to see a woman in the wallpaper of her room. She sees the woman creeping and crawling, “all the time trying to climb through” - an act of escape the narrator follows, to her husband’s horror.

With tremendous power, prescience and stark lyricism, this offers a cutting critique of the ways in which women are infantilised, and hampered by male institutions.

Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Joanne Owen

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