The Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Yellow Wall-Paper” Exhibit and Lecture
In the late 19th century, women were excluded from political and intellectual life. Medical and scientific experts drew on notions of female weakness to justify inequality between the sexes. Artist and writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who was discouraged from pursuing a career to preserve her health, rejected these ideas in a terrifying short story titled “The Yellow Wall-Paper.” The famous tale served as an indictment of the medical profession and the social conventions restricting women’s professional opportunities. The Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Yellow Wall-Paper” is a traveling exhibit from the National Library of Medicine. It will be on display from July 24th to September 2nd during normal library hours. Stop by and learn more about the author, the role of women during the late 1800s, and how she challenged those roles.
Dr. Tena Helton, English Department Chair at the University of Illinois, Springfield will present on The Yellow Wall-Paper on Tuesday, August 1st at 6:00 p.m. Helton will discuss how Gilman crafted this story to indict prevailing thought about female “weakness” and “treatments.” She will not only talk about how the social politics of the day are on display but how literary craft like, figurative language and point of view, transforms politics into something more impactful than a mere pamphlet or lecture.