"Many and many a reader has asked that. When the story first came out, in the New England Magazine about 1891, a Boston physician made protest in The Transcript. Such a story ought not to be written, he said; it was enough to drive anyone mad to read it.
Another physician, in Kansas I think, wrote to say that it was the best description of incipient insanity he had ever seen, and--begging my pardon--had I been there?
Now the story of the story is this:
For many years I suffered from a severe and continuous nervous breakdown tending to melancholia--and beyond. During about the third year of this trouble I went, in devout faith and some faint stir of hope, to a noted specialist in nervous diseases, the best known in the country. This wise man put me to bed and applied the rest cure, to which a still-good physique responded so promptly that he concluded there was nothing much the matter with me, and sent me home with solemn advice to "live as domestic a life as far as possible," to "have but two hours' intellectual life a day," and "never to touch pen, brush, or pencil again" as long as I lived. This was in 1887.
I went home and obeyed those directions for some three months, and came so near the borderline of utter mental ruin that I could see over.
Then, using the remnants of intelligence that remained, and helped by a wise friend, 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.
Being naturally moved to rejoicing by this narrow escape, I wrote The Yellow Wallpaper, with its embellishments and additions, to carry out the ideal (I never had hallucinations or objections to my mural decorations) and sent a copy to the physician who so nearly drove me mad. He never acknowledged it.
The little book is valued by alienists and as a good specimen of one kind of literature. It has, to my knowledge, saved one woman from a similar fate--so terrifying her family that they let her out into normal activity and she recovered.
But the best result is this. Many years later I was told that the great specialist had admitted to friends of his that he had altered his treatment of neurasthenia since reading The Yellow Wallpaper.
It was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked."
This was an article that was submitted in the Forerunner by Gilman back in 1913. The article that is mentioned here was written in explanation as to why she wrote "The Yellow Paper". To start off, Gilman states that she suffered from a severe case of a nervous breakdown, which by the way so did her character in The Yellow Wallpaper. She also says that a wise man gave her an advice that she must "never to touch pen, brush, or pencil again", which again her character in "The Yellow Wallpaper" was not allowed to do, or at least her husband didn't like it when she, wrote in her journal. This clearly shows us, the readers, that the reason why she wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper" was to show that she was indeed not "crazy" or had problems like they physician had claimed her to be. The only way that Gilman could prove that she was not having these hallucinations was to write out a story about the experiences that she was going through.
Gilman, Charlotte P. "Why I Wrote 'The Yellow Wallpaper'." The Forerunner 1913. Web. 12 Apr. 2010. dr
Friday, April 9, 2010
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was the author of the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" which she wrote in the 1800's.
So who is this Charlotte Perkins Gilman?
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born on July 3, 1860 in Hartford Connecticut. She was a writer and social activist in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Sometime along her decade-long marriage to her husband, Stetson, she began to experience severe depression and underwent a series of unusual treatment for it which inspired her to write "The Yellow Wallpaper". She was also the author of a book titled "Women and Economics" which was published in 1898. Gilman was a feminist who called other women to gain economic independence. This built a standing for her to be known as a social theorist. Gilman also wrote a book titled "The Forerunner" which allowed her to express her thoughts and ideas on women's issues. In 1935 after her second husband's death, she later found out that she had breast cancer and committed suicide on the 17th of August in 1935.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman." 2010. Biography.com. 9 Apr 2010, 11:36 http://www.biography.com/articles/Charlotte-Perkins-Gilman-9311669.
Gilman, Charlotte Anna Perkins, 1860-1935 ." Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-200. Ed. Kathryn K. Sklar and Thomas Dublin. N.p., 2010. Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-200. Web. 12 Apr. 2010.