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Book Review: The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Plot:

A woman and her husband rent a summer house, but what should be a restful getaway turns into a suffocating psychological battle. This chilling account of postpartum depression and a husband’s controlling behaviour in the guise of treatment will leave you breathless.

Review:

This story is so well written! I cannot believe it was written way back in the 1890s.
It just shows that mental health has always been around despite it not really been spoken about until this generation.

The Yellow Wallpaper is written as a series of diary entries from the perspective of a woman who is suffering from post-partum depression. She begins by describing the large home that she and her husband, John have rented for the summer. John is an extremely practical man, a physician, and their move into the country is partially motivated by his desire to expose his suffering wife to its clean air and calm life so that she can recover from what he sees as a slight hysterical tendency.

She complains that her husband will not listen to her worries about her condition, and treats her like a child.

As part of her cure, she is forbidden from pursuing any activity other than wife duties. They move into the room at the top of the house, which she suspects is a former nursery since it has peeling yellow wallpaper.

She becomes obsessed with the disgusting wallpaper which is part of her breakdown.

 
Books like this (both fiction and non-fiction) have opened up my eyes regarding mental health. Now I realise the general people and the medics have known the conditions for centuries now.

This short but impactful novel shows the stigma and discrimination like how it is represented in this quick read that makes people hush up about these conditions and their consequences.


“Am absolutely forbidden to “work” until I am well again… Personally, I disagree with their ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good.”

As you can see, even way back then, women had these thoughts of depression and wanting to have a job to take their mind off it. However they were not even allowed this option in that particular era.


This story can be creepy at times but I was able to relate with the narrator and what she was trying to convey.

It was most likely that she was suffering from postpartum depression but I can feel the discrimination of the other family members including her ‘physician’ husband towards her enough to hold her captive.

It’s the way of human and how our minds work when we might turn into something else in that condition.

5/5 Stars

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