The Australian reviews a recent theatrical production of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman that presents some strong connections with Jane Eyre and specially Bertha:
The Yellow WallpaperThe Yellow Wallpaper has been a hot topic recently on the Brontë list, with interesting contributions that we encourage to read. These are only brief samples:
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Tower Theatre, Malthouse, Melbourne November 17.
Until November 26
AN unnamed woman is confined to a room by her physician husband, John, who is attempting to soothe her nervous disposition. With no stimuli and nothing to engage her except the "optic horror" of the sickly yellow wallpaper, however, her mind becomes as jaundiced and mottled as the furnishing that so plagues her. Based on the 1899 short story by American writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper has the horror of Edgar Allen Poe and the psycho-feminist hysteria of Charlotte Bronte's mad woman in the attic. (read more) (Thuy On)
I first read "The Yellow Wallpaper" about 3 years ago, before I ever read anything by the Brontes, so naturally I never made the connection at the time. Curious to find the connection, I re-read the story this afternoon, and was suprised by how much of the story can be traced back to the character of Bertha Mason. I was wondering if anyone else in this group thinks that Gilman may have written the story partly as a critique of, or in response to Jane Eyre. (...)
What I found especially thought provoking was when the narrator says in the end, ""I've got out at last,"said I, "in spite of you and Jane''.. This is the first time in the story a Jane characer is even mentioned...could it be a reference to Jane Eyre herself? (Mandy Joy)
How much you can link the narrator with Bertha depends, I think, on how much you believe Rochester's version of events and of Bertha's character,which is pretty much opposed to the version in Wide Sargasso Sea. The narrator of Yellow Wallpaper also reminds me very much of Virginia Woolf,and how her episodes of mental breakdown lead to concerns about the effectof her writing, and how (again if I remember rightly) it was thought that she should rest completely from writing. (Lynne).You can read the text here (thanks to Mandy Joy).
Categories: Theatre, Jane Eyre, References