The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
THE YELLOW WALLPAPER is considered by many to be a classic in modern horror literature. The story was first published in 1892 and is told through the protagonist’s journal entries, which she writes secretly over several months, while staying in a rented secluded mansion. As she narrates the story, she reveals that she has been suffering from a nervous condition and has been prescribed rest with strict orders not to work or socialize. Unfortunately, her husband is a physician who doesn’t think anything is wrong with her that a little rest and fresh air won’t cure. As time passes and the narrator is alienated from the activities and people that enliven her spirit, she sinks deeper and deeper into a depression that preys upon her mind. She becomes obsessed with the hideous yellow wallpaper in her room and succumbs to a delusion, which drives her across the line separating reality from fantasy.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (July 3, 1860 – August 17, 1935) was a prominent American sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction, and a lecturer for social reform. She was a utopian feminist during a time when her accomplishments were exceptional for women, and she served as a role model for future generations of feminists because of her unorthodox concepts and lifestyle. Her best remembered work today is her semi-autobiographical short story The Yellow Wallpaper which she wrote after a severe bout of postpartum psychosis.
In January 1932, Gilman was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer. An advocate of euthanasia for the terminally ill, Gilman committed suicide on August 17, 1935 by taking an overdose of chloroform. In both her autobiography and suicide note, she wrote that she “chose chloroform over cancer” and she died quickly and quietly.
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