The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Yellow Wallpaper
The Yellow Wall Paper pg 1.jpg
The cover of the 1901 Edition
Written by: Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Central Theme: The mental health of women vs quackery
Synopsis: A woman is ordered to get a bed rest because of "hysteria" and gets cloistered in a room with a very peculiar wallpaper. Insanity by isolation ensues.
First published: 1892

"The Yellow Wallpaper" is a semi-autobiographical short story written in 1891 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It takes the perspective of a young woman who has been ordered to continuous bedrest as a treatment for hysteria. Trapped in a small room in her husband's country house, with nothing to do all day but sleep and write in her journal, she starts to dwell upon the dingy yellow wallpaper that decorates the place. In her boredom, she begins to see women crouching, cowering, trapped in the walls...

A landmark feminist work, its depiction of postpartum psychosis was also an inspiration for early cosmic horror, in particular The King in Yellow. Note that H.P. Lovecraft named the Gilman family after her in The Shadow Over Innsmouth (and as a pun on "gill"). In 2011, a film version of the story was released.


Tropes used in The Yellow Wallpaper include: