The Reason Behind Perkins's "Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper"

Niyati Jaiswal
Mar 28, 2020   •  13 views


When the short story "The  Yellow wallpaper" written by American writer Charlotte  Perkins Gilman got published in the year  1892, it caught the readers attentions and more of the critics's  as it talks about the severe nervous breakdown of a woman, it's questionable and seems to be biased .
A lot of the readers were against it's publish and especially the subject it enlightened within the society.
In late 19 century it was way more difficult fir the readers and publishers to  digest a heavy dose of women empowerment, feminism, depression, nervous breakdown and these sort of subjects as it raises questions upon a man and the position of women in our society. It seems to be quite heavy fir the readers to contain the bitter truths, as they do not consider it as a truth.


William Dean Howells, a prominent author and critic who became an ardent fan of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s work, sent her story “The Yellow Wallpaper” to his friend and editor, Horace E. Scudder, for publication in The Atlantic Monthly

Scudder rejected the piece outright. Instead, “The Yellow Wall-Paper” was published more than a year after it was written, in The New England Magazine, in January 1892. Readers were intrigued and disturbed.

The article, “Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman first appeared in the October 1913 issue of The Forerunner.

The Forerunner was a monthly magazine that Charlotte Perkins Gilman started in November 1909 that she would write and edit for the next seven years. 

Why I wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper"

Many and many a readers has asked that, when the story first came in the New England Magazine about 1891, a Boston physician made protest on the transcript. Such a story ought not be written , he said; it was enough to drive any one to read it.

Another physician, at Kansas I think , wrote to say that it was best description of incipient insanity, he had ever seen, and begging my pardon had I been there?

Now the story of the story is this : for many years I suffered from a

Savere and continuous nervous breakdown, tending to melancholia and beyond. During about the third year of this trouble I went, in devout faith and some ganit stor of hope, to a noted specialist and in nervous disease the best known in the country . The best man put me to the bed and applied the rest cure, to which a still good physique had responded so promptly that he concluded there was nothing much matter with me, and sent me home with solemn advice " to live as domestic a life as far as possible," to "have buy two hours intellectual life a day." And never to touch pen, brush or pencil again as I lived." This was in 1887. I went home and obeyed those directions For some three months. And came

So near to the border line of utter mental ruin that I could

See over. Then using the remnants of the intelligence that remained, nad helper by a wise friend, I cast the noted specialist's advice to the winds and went to work again. Work, the normal life of every human being; Work, in which is joy and growth and service, without which one is a paper and parasite; ultimately recovering some measure of power.

Being naturally moved to rejoicing

By this narrow escape. I wrote " The yellow Paper" with its embellishment and addition to carry out the Ideal (I never had hallucinations or objection to my Mural decorations) and sent a copy to the physician. Who so nearly drove me. He never acknowledged it.

The little book is valued by alienists and a good specimen of one kind of literature. It has to my knowledge saved one woman from a similar fate so terrifying her family that they

Let her out into normal activity and she recovered. But the best result is this. Many years later I was told that the great had admitted to friends of his that he had altered his treatment of neurasthenia since reading "The Yellow Wallpaper"

It was not intended to drive people crazy , but to save people from being driven crazy. And it worked.