After consulting Dr Mitchell – 'at that time the greatest nerve specialist in the country' – Gilman was ordered to take 'the rest cure'. 'I was put to bed and kept there. I was fed, bathed, rubbed… after a month of this agreeable treatment he sent me home, with this prescription: "Live as domestic a life as possible… And never touch pen, brush or pencil as long as you live."' She returned home, followed Dr Mitchell's instructions, 'and came perilously near to losing my mind… I would crawl into remote closets and under beds – to hide from the grinding pressure of that profound distress.'
The Yellow Wallpaper
Posted 23 January 2009 - 04:41 PM
Posted 23 January 2009 - 06:05 PM
"The Yellow Wallpaper" turned up in my life much later. The only book of hers I read at that time was The Home, which exposed me for the first time to the economics and power politics behind the "women's place is in the home" ideology, which I had not -- as a good (male) child of the 50s -- ever seriously questioned.
The book was for many of us a revelation. A number of my female classmates went on to become what you might call the first generation of self-consciously feminist American historians and sociologists -- partly as a result of their exposure to writers like Gilman.
Posted 12 February 2009 - 08:43 PM
And, several years later, I performed a modern dance solo based on the character made by a colleague. It was some of the fastest dancing I ever had to do (I am, temperamentally, more sustained than quick) and it knocked me out, every show.
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