The Yellow Wallpaper and Selected Writings
I may have a new author to add to my favourites. I'd never heard of Gilman until Bill gave me a copy of The Yellow Wallpaper to read a few years ago and I thought it was amazing. The story of a woman haunted by the paper in her bedroom being slowly
I may have a new author to add to my favourites. I'd never heard of Gilman until Bill gave me a copy of The Yellow Wallpaper to read a few years ago and I thought it was amazing. The story of a woman haunted by the paper in her bedroom being slowly driven mad by it and the supposed cure for her depression. The other stories in this collection are similarly great, some are spooky some are positive, but they all have the message of you should follow your passion. There seems to be a real progression in the stories, at first they are lamenting the boundaries placed on women by society, her inability to be free, be herself. Then they show ways that women can, or could in a magical world, free herself and live a life of equality. Then towards the end are stories, that go beyond gender, and have both men and women giving up the drudgery of normal life and following their dreams. Unfortunately in most cases there is the presence of a large sum of money, or a relative who can help out and allow these events to take place. But they still seem like stories of hope.
While reading these stories I couldn't help but wonder if Gilman came across HG Wells in her visits. I couldn't decide if they would have hated each other or got along. But I think her worldview would have been very good for him.
The second part of the book was extracts from her autobiography, which was fascinating, not just for the honestly of her breakdown and its aftermath but also for such a non conventional 19th century woman's background. Being raised by a single mother, and then getting divorced herself. I found it all fascinating, even her ideas on how to be a good parent. I will definitely need to hunt down the full version, and have added nearly everything I could find by her to my Amazon wish list. I normally don't care for American 19th century authors at all, not even Poe, but Gilman was lovely!