Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born on July 3, 1860, in Hartford, Connecticut. She was a writer and social activist during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Her father abandoned her and her family as a child making her grow in a difficult environment in a difficult time period. When she was older she married a man named Charles Stetson in 1884 and had a daughter named Katherine. During her first decade of marriage she suffered from a severe depression and underwent several treatments for her problem and this is what leads her to write her story “The Yellow Wallpaper”. In an interview in October 1913 Gilman said she had suffered from a severe and continuous nervous breakdown. In her third year of this she underwent a treatment by a specialist in nervous disorders, the best in the country as she put it. The specialist applied a treatment called a “rest-cure” which was a treatment in which a person would be basically imprisoned, with little to no contact with the outside world. In the first few weeks, women were not allowed to engage their minds by reading or performing small activities and this treatment could last for up to two months. Charlotte apparently responded slightly to the treatment and was sent home with this advice "live as domestic a life as far as possible, "have but two hours' intellectual life a day," and "never to touch pen, brush, or pencil again" as long as she lived. She stated that she went home and obeyed those directions for some three months, and came very close to utter mental ruin. Eventually she cast aside the specialist’s advice and went about to work again and with a feeling of joy she wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper”. She said that she sent a copy to the specialist although he never acknowledged it. Many years later she was told that the specialist had admitted to friends of his that he had altered his treatments since reading “The Yellow Wallpaper”. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s mental issues are a direct influence...
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