Charlotte Perkins-Gilman was a non-fiction writer and an active feminist. She was raised by a single mother of 3. Charlottes mother suffered from depression after she lost a child and her husband walked out on her, which made Charlotte have to help her mother with her siblings. Charlotte was way before her time when it came to her thoughts on feminism. She believed that if woman wanted to be married, have children, and hold down a job, then they should be able to do whatever they pleased. (remember this was back in the late 1800 and people certainly didn’t think that way!)Just like her mother Charlotte had problems with depression. Back in those times doctors really didn’t understand depression or how to deal with it. They needed to have a scientific explanation for everything. They couldn’t understand that you can be sad without having a reason. Doctors basically told Charlotte to quit her job and go work at home to cure any kind of sadness.
Writing helped her maintain her sanity. She wrote short stories. One of her greatest and most famous stories is The Yellow Wallpaper. In the story there is a woman who is married to a doctor, deals with depression, and mental health. Her husband thinks that the only way to cure her is to take her out to a house in the country away from everyone and sleep it off. The woman in the story, like Charlotte, likes to write to get her feelings out instead of surprising them. Her husband didn’t like her to write. I guess he felt that she would be holding on to the depression and making it real with the writing. Well without giving the whole story away she finds solace in this hideous yellow wallpaper in the midst of having a mental breakdown. I love this story because it brings awareness to mental health and depression.
Charlotte was a pioneer way before her time that deserves more praise and recognition. I wanted to write about her to bring some recognition to her name and work. I will definitely be reading more from her and let you know how her body of work (in my opinion) is as a whole.
Make sure you go and check out The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins-Gilman