“It is the strangest yellow, that wallpaper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw- not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things.”
A 19th century psychological Gothic horror story, without any actual ghosts, The Yellow Wallpaper invokes very despairing fright in the minds of the readers.
The protagonist who is based on the author herself is nameless and lives in an era where women were thought of as incapable of anything but domestic work. She apparently seems to be suffering from post partum depression which was labelled as hysteria as was every mental problem women faced in those days.
The story is narrated in first person in the form of diary entries. The woman is trapped by the misogynistic society and her husband. Restriction from writing and having visitors takes a toll on her mental health and she begins to see patterns in the wallpaper of the room. She grows to be obsessed with the “changing patterns” she sees of women trapped behind the yellow wallpaper.
These “trapped women” are a symbol of her own turmoil and desire to express herself through writing so she could gain recognition as something more than a domestic woman.
The Yellow Wallpaper is a very valuable piece of American literature and was created to throw light on the importance of women’s mental health. The reception it received at first was negative but years later the purpose for which it was created was served.
My rating for this novella- 4.5/5