The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte P. Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was published in the New England Magazine in 1892.  The story is told through the protagonist’s journal, which she writes secretly over the course of several months, while staying in a rented mansion.  As she narrates the story, she reveals that she has been suffering from a nervous condition and has been prescribed rest with strict orders not to work or socialize.  Unfortunately, her husband is a physician who doesn’t think anything is wrong with her that a little rest and fresh air won’t cure.  As time passes and the narrator is alienated from the activities and people that enliven her spirit, she sinks deeper and deeper into a depression that preys upon her mind.  She becomes obsessed with the hideous yellow wallpaper in her room and succumbs to a delusion, which drives her across the line separating reality from fantasy.

Included in this episode, there is an introductory synopsis, narration of the full text, and a biography of Gilman at the end.

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Recording Copyright © 2007 Nikolle Doolin

Duration: 47 min.
Size: 44 MB
Download: The Yellow Wallpaper

Added to *Short Stories, Gilman, Charlotte P. on August 18th, 2008.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman Bio

Charlotte P. Gilman

Charlotte P. Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born on July 3, 1860 in Connecticut. Her great aunts Catherine Beecher, Isabella Beecher Hooker, and Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin) were all active social reformers. Gilman’s relations fostered a passion for women’s rights, which she advocated for throughout her life. She was a prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction and published a magazine called the Forerunner.

Gilman was married twice. She divorced her first husband Charles Walter Stetson, an artist (with whom she had a daughter), then later married her cousin George Gilman. She had a life-long battle with depression and likely suffered from post-partum depression after the birth of her daughter, which may have been the underlying influence behind her provocative story The Yellow Wallpaper. In her 70s, Gilman was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. She did not want to face a long and painful death and believed in the right to die, so Gilman committed suicide by inhaling Chloroform in 1935. She was 75 years old.

Works by Charlotte Perkins Gilman Available on the Podcast:

To learn more about The Yellow Wallpaper and the author, visit:

This article was published in Gilman’s magazine The Forerunner in October, 1913. It explains, in her own words, what motivated her to write this provocative story, which infuriated some and helped others.

This site provides an analysis of the text and the author with a copy of the story containing links to footnotes.

Entry on Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Added to *Biography, Gilman, Charlotte P. on August 18th, 2008.