The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a wonderful story! There is a adage in writing that the writer must not tell the reader, but let the characters tell their own story. This is all there is in this story. There is no narrator except for the main character. There are no other people telling the story. Everything we see, we see through the main character's eyes.
She is actually suffering from postpartum depression, but everything being done for her is missing the mark. In fact, it is possibly the worst thing that can be done for her. We hear the voices of her husband and others involved with her care, but only filtered through her depression. Are they really that oblivious to what is really happening to her?
I read a book about the Galveston Flood in 1902. One of the reasons the hurricane was so devastating was the hubris of the new National Weather Bureau. They thought they knew all there was to know about the behavior of hurricanes and they were contemptuous of the reports coming in from the "too easily excited" Cubans. I felt the same kind of hubris in this story. The husband and the doctor think they know exactly what his wife needs and they don't listen to her. They also don't question their own wisdom even when she is obviously getting worse and worse. They do everything wrong for what they are sure are the right reasons.
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