Marvin's Reviews > The Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
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Apr 20, 11

bookshelves: kindle, short-fiction
Read on April 20, 2011

Short, odd and maybe a bit too over-hyped for me to thoroughly enjoy it.This early feminist tale tries to be a bit too obtuse for my taste. Is the narrator going mad ? is she already mad? Did the treatment for her depression make her mad? Do I care? All of these question are diverted by an unreliable narrator and complicated by an unreliable reviewer. If only I can get someone to remove this Hello Kitty wallpaper that showed up in my office overnight, perhaps I can make sense of everything. Where's that friggin' rope?
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message 1: by Marvin (last edited Nov 21, 2012 10:15AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Marvin You probably should not read more into my tongue-in-cheek review than is there. It is more probable that the unreliable narrator was suffering from postpartum depression that was turned into a postpartum psychosis due to the antiquated treatments of the 19th century. This "rest" treatment was practiced mostly on women who were considered delicate and inferior and usually increased the severity of the symptoms. Of course, this treatment is the total opposite of what modern treatment is; where the mentally ill are encouraged to join society and are empowered. Gilman shows excellent insight on the limits of the old treatment of mental illness. The feminist interpretation that the narrator's illness is actually liberating her at the end is interesting but I don't necessary buy it. As for Gilman's short fiction, IMHO I find Yellow Wallpaper an important historical work and early Feminist writing, but not classic literature. I did like it and know other people revere it. I guess I'm just not one of those people.

As for my knowledge of mental illness, as a clinical social worker I spent more than 15 years treating Schizophrenia and Bi-Polar Disorder as well as doing family therapy and advocating for education in the causes and treatment of domestic violence, so I would say I'm well versed in these matters.


Michelle You go, Marvin. ;)


notgettingenough Nicole: You obviously don't know much about the history of the treatment of the mentally ill. The narrator was clearly schizophrenic.
Marvin wrote: "As for my knowledge of mental illness, as a clinical social worker I spent more than 15 years treating Schizophrenia and Bi-Polar Disorder as well as doing family therapy and advocating for education in the causes and treatment of domestic violence, so I would say I'm well versed in these matters."


Gee, Marvin, I wish I could do comebacks like this.


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