The Yellow Wallpaper
"The Yellow Wallpaper" is a 6,000-word short story by the American writer, Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature, illustrating attitudes in the 19th century toward women's physical and mental health. Presented in the first person, the story is a collection of journal entries written by a woman whose physician husband has confined her to the upstairs bedroom of a house he has rented for the summer. She is forbidden from working, and has to hide her journal from him, so she can recuperate from what he calls a "temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency," a diagnosis common to women in that period. The windows of the room are barred, and there is a gate across the top of the stairs, allowing her husband to control her access to the rest of the house. The story depicts the effect of confinement on the narrator's mental health, and her descent into psychosis.