The Yellow Wallpaper
I lie awake, unmoving, terrified. I know she’s watching me from within the wall, I can see the tilt of her head, the searing gaze that holds me still. I want to close my eyes, I do not want to know anything more. But I am too paralyzed to even do that. She drags her gaze away, focusing on the steel bars instead. I watch her grip two bars, and she looks back at me. I cannot breathe. Smiling, she effortlessly bends both aside.
I do not realize I am screaming until the lights turn on. The wall is blank.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman penned The Yellow Wallpaper, a short story. It outlines the story of a woman, captive under the guise of being ‘cared for’. Said to be suffering from a ‘mental illness’, she stays in a worn-down yet sprawling old property on the outskirts of a town, away from other civilization. Her husband is her only caretaker and decision maker. Isolated, unable to communicate with others, loaded on medications, she starts seeing unnatural events in the dead of the night. Whether the events actually transpire, or she’s genuinely mentally ill, or she’s made to appear ill is never stated until the end. However, it leaves the premise open to all perspectives – throwing light on gaslighting, controlling elements within human behaviour. The book intends to increase awareness on mental illnesses and fallouts.