A Slight Hysterical Tendency – An Analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper
Fiction by standard definition is a body of literary work that is not real, or is imagined. So what do you get when you have a story that is in fact fiction, but is so personal to the author that is could almost be considered autobiographical? You get the fictional story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The story about a woman who is suffering from postpartum psychosis is parallel to the difficulties that Gilman faced in her own life. At a time in history when women were thought to be hysterical and not taken seriously especially in the area of mental health, Gilman bravely brought the topic to the surface in a dark, but truthful manner. Her use of imagery and personification throughout the writing draws the reader into the sick mind of a young mother struggling to find herself again and broaches the issue of feminism.
According to the Online Literature website, Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1860. Her father, a librarian, abandoned the family early on and Charlotte was often looked after by her Great aunt and uncle, Harriet and Henry Beecher. Henry was a social reformer and Harriet was the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Due to the strong social and literary influences, Charlotte was drawn to literature and began writing at a young age. She attended college and after a couple years she married an artist names Charles Walter Stetson. After giving birth to their daughter she was plagued by severe bouts of depression and psychosis. In an effort to get herself well she separated and later divorced Stetson and moved across the country to California. Her experiences with mental illness and social oppression greatly influenced her writings as seen in “The Yellow Wallpaper”.
In the beginning, the narrator is describing the house that she and her husband are staying in for the summer. “It makes me think of English places that you read about, for...