4Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 1860—1935 economist, theorist, author of over 200 short stories and ten novelsrefused to call herself a feminist: her goal as a humanist was to campaign for women’s rightsutopian socialism
5Breakdown after birth of child; divorced and left child with father second marriage happyan advocate of the right to die; died by her own hand when diagnosed with inoperable breast cancer. She wrote, "when one is assured of unavoidable and imminent death, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one."
6Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper" (1913) This article originally appeared in the October issue of The Forerunner.briefly describes her own experience“work [is] the normal life of every human being; work, in which is joy and growth and service, without which one is a pauper and a parasite”
7Women’s rolePeriod of change: from the “True Woman” to the “New Woman”Gilman felt that the maternal role over-emphasized, and that women needed economic independence
8“Contrasting ‘sex parasitism, in which the female is dependent upon the economic activities of the male,’ with what she identifies as male parasitism in lower life forms, the American feminist [Gilman] emphasizes how the sexual parasitism of women directly contradicts any known biological model.”Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar (literary critics),No Man’s Land (Vol. 2, 71),quoting Gilman from her essay “Parasitism and Civilised Vice” (1931)
9“The Yellow Wallpaper” The New England Magazine (1892)
20For discussion1. How do the descriptions of the former nursery contribute to our understanding of the story? How about the setting more generally?2. How would you describe the point of view and the narrative voice? How do they shape the story?3. What do we learn about John? How do we learn it? What is the significance of his being a physician?
214. What do we learn about their relationship? How do we learn it? 5. Anything interesting about the use of names in the story?6. What does the wallpaper represent?7. Is she mad? Or has she found a way to be sane?