But really, the Shining reference above is woefully incapable of really capturing The Yellow Wallpaper's narrative, history, and meteoric impact. Written in the late nineteenth century, the story functions as a critique of the era's ideas of mental health, especially as they pertain to women. Wallpaper's narrator has recently been prescribed rest leave as a response to her "hysterical tendencies," a cure which involves locking in a room alone, prohibited from visiting her newborn child for fear it would overtax her, and all around boredom. As a response, the narrator begins keeping a secret diary to help alleviate her cabin fever. Her entries take a turn for the bizarre and then the outright bone-chilling as she begins to see a pattern in the horrid, ugly wallpaper adorning her room, a pattern which soon develops into a figure creeping through the walls. Aside from its importance to the development of women's mental health, The Yellow Wallpaper is a fantastic horror story, one of the spookier that I have had the pleasure to read. It is short enough to read in one sitting but more than good enough to warrant revisiting it many times over.
Presents fiction and non-fiction selections from the twentieth-century American feminist and sociologist, displaying keen analysis of economic and women's issues.