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Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"

As she says “But I am here, and no person touches this paper but Me—not alive!” (Perkins Gilman 17). Yet, unlike the real author undergoing the famous rest cure of the era, a treatment for neurasthenia, the short story character does not form her own stable identity. Instead, she merely sees the wallpaper as a refuge, a piece of herself no one can affect but also one which continues to serve as a source of her confinement because of those around her who would keep her oppressed. This is why she states “I supposed I shall have to get back behind the pattern when it comes night, and that is hard!” (Perkins Gilman 18).

In conclusion, it is easy to discover why Perkins Gilman wrote The Yellow Wallpaper. It was her attempt to underscore the quackery of such practices in the era as Dr. Mitchell’s rest cure. As the author says in her essay on why she wrote the short story “It was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked” (Perkins Gilman 1). Allegedly, though he denied reading the short story publicly, friends of Dr. Mitchell claim that after he read the short story he decided to alter his treatment for neurasthenia—proof that the power of the pen is mightier than those who might try to still it.

Perkins Gilman, C. Charlotte Perkins Gilman Reader. New York, Pantheon Books, 1980.

Perkins Gilman, C. Why I wrote The Yellow Wallpaper. The Forerunner., October, 1913, 1.


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Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper". (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:45, July 22, 2017, from
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