Published 23 April 20101 May 2010 · Main Posts Review – The Yellow Wallpaper Sally Atkinson Driving through the golden, locust-infested centre of New South Wales on Sunday, Radio National broadcast The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilmer. It was first published in 1892 in the New England Magazine. The story is a series of journal entries told in first person by the narrator, a woman locked in a room, after being diagnosed as ‘nervously depressed’ by both her husband and brother, physicians. The journal entries describe her descent into psychosis with the wallpaper, and toys with the reader and notions of the ‘female condition’, ‘hysteria’ and ‘freedom’. The ending of the story oozes a sort of oxymoronic yet feminist triumph. I was struck by the performance of this story, which I think was more evocative being read by Alice Parkinson than if I had read it myself. It was a cathartic experience: seeing her wallpaper, empathising with her ‘mental illness, feeling her insight from writing it all down. Particularly seeing she was in a ‘room of her own’, which Virginia Woolf fought for 30 years later. If you’ve read it or heard the broadcast, I would be interested in what you think. See, I, having been called depressed and psychotic, did not agree with those who told me this. I do not discount mental illness, but am fascinated by the fine line between sanity and insanity, and the complex question about madness versus one’s own interpretation. This interpretation is often left to those who are employed by the status quo. In the narrator’s case, her husband’s profession demands that she is sick. So I was really engaged in this text. The gross, infantile treatment from John, the bars on the windows and the sickening suppression of her spirit make for both horror and deep sadness. I think the narrator was trapped behind the wallpaper and the diagnosis from her husband, whom she believed is acting out of ‘love’, but she eventually manifested her own freedom, even if it was seen as psychotic. Perkins Gilmer is not in the canon with Woolf, Mansfield, Plath, Walker – why? Sally Atkinson More by Sally Atkinson › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 10 November 202311 November 2023 · Subscriberthon 2023 On the final day of Subscriberthon, Overland’s most important members get to have their say Editorial Team BORIS A quick guide to another year of Overland, from your trusty feline, Boris. I liked the ginger cat story, though it made my human cry. I liked the talking cat, too, but I’m definitely in the “not wasting my time learning to talk” camp. But reading is good. And writing is fun, though it’s been challenging […] 1 First published in Overland Issue 228 9 November 20239 November 2023 · Subscriberthon 2023 On the second-last day of Subscriberthon, Overland’s co-chief editor Evelyn Araluen speaks truth to power Editorial Team To my friends and comrades, I’m not sure if there’s language to communicate how this last month has utterly changed me. This time a few weeks ago the busyness and chaos of bricolage arts and academic labour had so efficiently distracted me from my anxiety about the upcoming referendum that I forgot to prepare myself for its inevitable conclusion.