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History Literature / TheYellowWallpaper

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* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: an interesting use that reverses the normal comfort of "maybe it wasn't real". The writer Alan Ryan put it well with the description "It may be a ghost story. Worse yet, it may not." That is, the less horrifying possibility is that the woman in the wallpaper was real and possessed the protagonist, rather than the protagonist is [[{{Gaslighting}} driven insane by her loved one's insistence that she was insane]].


** The condition the narrator is being "treated" for, [[HystericalWoman hysteria]] ''was'' an actual diagnosis for literally anything from postpartum depression, to endometriosis, to PMS or PMDD, to polycystic ovarian syndrome, to migraines, to bipolar disorder, to various types of cancer, to post-traumatic stress disorder, and even things like being a lesbian, or not wanting to have children, or wanting to pursue higher education and/or work outside the home, wanting a divorce, or actually enjoying sex. This bullshit diagnosis persisted ''all the way into TheSeventies'', leading to many women needlessly suffering from both the disease they ''actually'' had [[note]] If, you know, they were ''actually'' sick, and not just deviating from AcceptableFeminineGoals of that time... [[/note]], plus the "treatment" for the "disease" they were diagnosed with. This included the aforementioned "rest cure," [[GroinAttack cutting or burning the clitoris and/or labia]], being sent to a BedlamHouse, electroshock "therapy," {{Lobotomy}}, and even [[RapePortrayedAsRedemption rape]].

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** The condition the narrator is being "treated" for, [[HystericalWoman hysteria]] hysteria]], ''was'' an actual diagnosis for literally anything a huge range of conditions in its exclusively female contractees--anything from postpartum depression, to endometriosis, to PMS or PMS, PMDD, to polycystic ovarian syndrome, to migraines, to bipolar disorder, to various types of cancer, to cancers, or post-traumatic stress disorder, and even things like being a lesbian, or homosexuality, not wanting to have children, or wanting to pursue higher education and/or work outside the home, wanting a divorce, or actually enjoying sex. This bullshit diagnosis persisted ''all the way into TheSeventies'', leading to many women needlessly suffering from both the disease they ''actually'' had [[note]] had,[[note]] If, you know, they were ''actually'' sick, and not just deviating from AcceptableFeminineGoals of that time... [[/note]], [[/note]] plus the "treatment" for the "disease" they were diagnosed with. This included the aforementioned "rest cure," cure", [[GroinAttack cutting or burning the clitoris and/or labia]], being sent to a BedlamHouse, electroshock "therapy," "therapy", {{Lobotomy}}, and even [[RapePortrayedAsRedemption rape]].


** The condition the narrator is being "treated" for, [[HystericalWoman hysteria]] ''was'' an actual diagnosis for literally anything from postpartum depression, to endometriosis, to PMS or PMDD, to polycystic ovarian syndrome, to migraines, to bipolar disorder, to various types of cancer, to post-traumatic stress disorder, and even things like being a lesbian, or not wanting to have children, or wanting to pursue higher education and/or work outside the home, wanting a divorce, or actually enjoying sex. This bullshit diagnosis persisted ''all the way into TheSeventies'', leading to many women needlessly suffering from both the disease they ''actually'' had, plus the "treatment" for the "disease" they were diagnosed with. This included the aforementioned "rest cure," [[GroinAttack cutting or burning the clitoris and/or labia]], being sent to a BedlamHouse, electroshock "therapy," {{Lobotomy}}, and even [[RapePortrayedAsRedemption rape]].

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** The condition the narrator is being "treated" for, [[HystericalWoman hysteria]] ''was'' an actual diagnosis for literally anything from postpartum depression, to endometriosis, to PMS or PMDD, to polycystic ovarian syndrome, to migraines, to bipolar disorder, to various types of cancer, to post-traumatic stress disorder, and even things like being a lesbian, or not wanting to have children, or wanting to pursue higher education and/or work outside the home, wanting a divorce, or actually enjoying sex. This bullshit diagnosis persisted ''all the way into TheSeventies'', leading to many women needlessly suffering from both the disease they ''actually'' had, had [[note]] If, you know, they were ''actually'' sick, and not just deviating from AcceptableFeminineGoals of that time... [[/note]], plus the "treatment" for the "disease" they were diagnosed with. This included the aforementioned "rest cure," [[GroinAttack cutting or burning the clitoris and/or labia]], being sent to a BedlamHouse, electroshock "therapy," {{Lobotomy}}, and even [[RapePortrayedAsRedemption rape]].

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* TakeThat: The entire story was spurred by how ineffective the "rest cure" was in treating the depression of the author, Charlotte Gilman, and how the lack of any form of stimulation nearly drove her crazy.


** Yes, isolation (aka the "rest cure") was a treatment used in the late 19th century. Yes, it was quackery.

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** Yes, isolation (aka the "rest cure") was a treatment used in the late 19th century. Yes, it was quackery. The author was quite glad to learn of at least one woman whose family decided against this "treatment" ''specifically'' because of this story.


** The condition the narrator is being "treated" for, [[HystericalWoman hysteria]] ''was'' an actual diagnosis for literally anything from postpartum depression, to endometriosis, to PMS or PMDD, to polycystic ovarian syndrome, to migraines, to bipolar disorder, to various types of cancer, to post-traumatic stress disorder, and even things like being a lesbian, or not wanting to have children, or wanting to pursue higher education and/or work outside the home, wanting a divorce, or actually enjoying sex. This bullshit diagnosis persisted ''all the way into TheSeventies'', leading to many women needlessly suffering from both the disease they ''actually'' had, plus the "treatment" for the "disease" they were diagnosed with. This included the aforementioned "rest cure," [[GroinAttack cutting or burning the clitoris and/or labia]], being sent to a BedlamHouse, and even [[RapePortrayedAsRedemption rape]].

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** The condition the narrator is being "treated" for, [[HystericalWoman hysteria]] ''was'' an actual diagnosis for literally anything from postpartum depression, to endometriosis, to PMS or PMDD, to polycystic ovarian syndrome, to migraines, to bipolar disorder, to various types of cancer, to post-traumatic stress disorder, and even things like being a lesbian, or not wanting to have children, or wanting to pursue higher education and/or work outside the home, wanting a divorce, or actually enjoying sex. This bullshit diagnosis persisted ''all the way into TheSeventies'', leading to many women needlessly suffering from both the disease they ''actually'' had, plus the "treatment" for the "disease" they were diagnosed with. This included the aforementioned "rest cure," [[GroinAttack cutting or burning the clitoris and/or labia]], being sent to a BedlamHouse, electroshock "therapy," {{Lobotomy}}, and even [[RapePortrayedAsRedemption rape]].

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** The condition the narrator is being "treated" for, [[HystericalWoman hysteria]] ''was'' an actual diagnosis for literally anything from postpartum depression, to endometriosis, to PMS or PMDD, to polycystic ovarian syndrome, to migraines, to bipolar disorder, to various types of cancer, to post-traumatic stress disorder, and even things like being a lesbian, or not wanting to have children, or wanting to pursue higher education and/or work outside the home, wanting a divorce, or actually enjoying sex. This bullshit diagnosis persisted ''all the way into TheSeventies'', leading to many women needlessly suffering from both the disease they ''actually'' had, plus the "treatment" for the "disease" they were diagnosed with. This included the aforementioned "rest cure," [[GroinAttack cutting or burning the clitoris and/or labia]], being sent to a BedlamHouse, and even [[RapePortrayedAsRedemption rape]].

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* CassandraTruth: Victorian-era wallpapers often contained toxic arsenic-based dyes. Although everyone knew that arsenic was toxic, it was generally believed to be safe as long as you didn't actually eat it. However, there was a then-new theory (now considered correct) that wallpaper and other objects containing arsenic give off microscopic dust particles that can make people sick if they inhale or accidentally ingest them. So when the narrator complained that the wallpaper was making her sick, this was likely the literal truth.


* TheOphelia: [[spoiler:The narrator, by the end]].

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* TheOphelia: [[spoiler:The narrator, by Deconstructed - there's nothing ''at all'' romantic or pretty about the end]].narrator's illness.


* AdaptationExpansion: The film adaptation gives the narrator a name, expands a bit on her (meager, tiny) social life, and expands on the character of her husband, John.



* {{Hypocrite}}: In the film, John. He gives a lecture on the importance of mental stimulation, exercise, and fresh air--[[spoiler:while his isolated, cloistered wife is having her psychotic break in the attic]].



* NamedByTheAdaptation: The narrator is named "[[AuthorAvatar Charlotte]]" in the film adaptation.


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!!The film adaptation adds examples of:
* AdaptationExpansion: The film adaptation gives the narrator a name, expands a bit on her (meager, tiny) social life, and expands on the character of her husband, John.
* {{Hypocrite}}: John gives a lecture on the importance of mental stimulation, exercise, and fresh air--[[spoiler:while his isolated, cloistered wife is having her psychotic break in the attic]].
* NamedByTheAdaptation: The narrator is named "[[AuthorAvatar Charlotte]]" in the film adaptation.

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* ForgottenFramingDevice: To start with there are several references to the fact that the protagonist is keeping a journal, such as one section ending with her saying that she has to stop writing now because she has a visitor. These fade out about halfway through, and by the end she's narrating events as they happen. (Events which clearly do not involve her stopping to write anything down.)


A landmark feminist work, its depiction of postpartum psychosis was also an inspiration for early [[CosmicHorrorStory cosmic horror]], in particular ''Literature/TheKingInYellow''. [[http://grimreviews.blogspot.com/2011/03/hp-lovecraft-on-yellow-wallpaper-by.html Note]] that Creator/HPLovecraft may have named the Gilman family after her when writing ''Literature/TheShadowOverInnsmouth'' (and as a pun on "gill"). In 2011, a film version of the story was released.

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A landmark feminist work, its depiction of postpartum psychosis was also an inspiration for early [[CosmicHorrorStory cosmic horror]], in particular ''Literature/TheKingInYellow''. [[http://grimreviews.blogspot.com/2011/03/hp-lovecraft-on-yellow-wallpaper-by.html Note]] that Creator/HPLovecraft may have named the Gilman family after her when writing ''Literature/TheShadowOverInnsmouth'' (and as a pun on "gill"). In 2011, a film version of the story was released. Read by Chilling Tales for Dark Nights [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYIBJ9YXDJk here]].

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* WhamLine: [[spoiler: "I always lock the door when I creep by daylight." This is where the reader realizes how deep into madness the narrator's slipping.]]


* AuthorAvatar

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* AuthorAvatarAuthorAvatar: The narrator is implied to be a fictionalized version of Gilman herself.



* BerthaInTheAttic



* GoMadFromTheIsolation

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* GoMadFromTheIsolationGoMadFromTheIsolation: Being locked in a room with nothing to do for months on end has an adverse effect on the narrator's mental health.



* MindScrew

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* MindScrewMadwomanInTheAttic: The narrator is slowly driven insane by being cooped up in the room with the yellow wallpaper with nothing to do except stare at it and see patterns in it.
* MindScrew: The latter half of the story gets increasingly incoherent as a symptom of the narrator's decaying mental state.


* CreatorBreakdown: The story becomes even more disturbing when you find out that it was based on Gilman's own experiences with depression and Victorian-era doctors.

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