Charlotte Perkins Gilman writes: "While we flatter ourselves that things remain the same, they are changing under our very eyes from year to year, from day to day."
In The Yellow Wallpaper, Gilman draws from personal experience, locked in a yellow-papered room, without the saving graces of writing or reading. Loneliness and boredom give way to paranoia and psychosis. This work of Gothic fiction is a series of journal entries, written in an epistolary style. The story is an early example of feminist literature, condemning the androcentric hegemony in the medical profession.
The young female narrator finally finds escape, with her own insanity (as the mad woman in the attic in Jane Eyre). In the end, she accepts her solitary confinement. "For outside you have to creep on the ground, and everything is green instead of yellow. But here I can creep smoothly on the floor, and my shoulder just fits in that long smooch around the wall, so I cannot lose my way."
Gilman calls for recovery, for health, and for survival. She was able to rise above the "rest cure." She left the narrator in the yellow room, but Gilman walked out of the room. She escaped her depression, isolation and loneliness. She left her marriage. And, she embraced work. As she explains, "I cast the noted specialist's advice to the winds and went to work again--work, the normal life of every human being; work, in which is joy and growth and service, without which one is a pauper and a parasite--ultimately recovering some measure of power."
Now, she offers escape for others...
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