Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

“I’ve always loved to read. When I was in college, I took literature classes for fun. In one of those classes, we read “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. If you’ve ever read it, chances are you still remember the disturbing and compelling story. If you haven’t read it, it’s a short story about a young Victorian woman suffering from postpartum depression whose physician husband prescribes a “rest cure” to treat her.

In the late 1800s, doctors often prescribed a “rest cure” for anxiety or depression. The treatment centered on a long period of mental, physical, and emotional inactivity. The young woman in the story is supposed to stay in her room by herself and do nothing. She’s not allowed to care for her child or read or do anything. The story describes her descent into madness as she stares at the oppressive yellow wallpaper in her room day in and day out.

Gilman wrote The Yellow Wallpaper after her own experiences with postpartum depression and ‘rest cure’ treatment. The story is meant to draw attention to the way doctors and Victorian society mistreated and undervalued women. While such treatment was intended to help women, the cure was worse than the ‘disease.'”