The Yellow Wallpaper

Gulp. Okay so what I have just read was spine tingling and just a bit horrifying, but none the less amazing. The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

It is about a woman suffering from mental illness, and how her husband and family disregard it, and how they have told her what she needs to do to feel better rather than consider what she might think is for the best. She first shows signs of discontent for the yellow wallpaper in her room, then she strongly dislikes it. Eventually she becomes obsessed with it, to the point where not only does she see figures trapped inside it but she believes that she herself has come from behind the pattern on the wallpaper.

Her prescribed inactivity leads her to increasing amounts of paranoia, hallucinations, wild imaginings and finally a mental break down. The way I vision my story to unfold is that the reader is listening to the narrators wild imaginings, to only find out at the end that wild imaginings was all they were.

Throughout the text it is as if she is speaking and confiding directly to the reader, because she cannot speak to her husband in this way. She herself is a creative writer, and has been told to stop, because her husband believes that her imagination makes her worse.

The themes running through this story, mental illness, doubt, horror, believability of the author and a female lead have all pushed my story and driven me to write with similar concepts.

Tim Walker’s photo for Vogue Italy in 2010, has direct relations to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper. Even the style of dress is quite mad and the way the wallpaper is crumpled on the ground it looks as if she has come from the wallpaper, because of the way the dress blends in. The model is also staring into the paper, as if she is obsessed with it like in the story.

If I had looked at this image before reading the book, I wouldn’t have been able to connect the two at all, or appreciate the photo as much as I do now.


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