In all my 71 years, I’d never heard of The Yellow Wall-paper. I’d never heard of its author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, either. Also, I never pay attention to graphic novels–which is odd since I like comic strips (well, some of them) and used to enjoy comic books as a child–as well as spreading out those colorful “Sunday Funnies” on the floor.
But I know that T.S. Poetry Press only publishes the best and the most beautiful work. I know the illustrator and that she is wildly creative–more so than I even knew. Also the cover of this book is soft and lovely, and yellow speaks of joy and happiness, maybe even creativity. But Barkat chose to use brown ink on white for her drawings. I’m thinking there was a reason for that. In fact, she tells you why in Megan Willome’s post “Why She Created ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper Graphic Novel.”
After reading this book, I felt a little like I’d just stepped out of an episode of The Twilight Zone. It’s a powerful story of–I’m not sure what. Feminism? Gaslighting? Mental illness? Imprisonment? Imagination and creativity thwarted? Maybe what might have happened to depressed people treated in good faith the old-fashioned way? Would the character have healed faster if she’d been allowed to write rather than denied that outlet? Was she really depressed to begin with? All of the above? Other? Also, the author’s writing is beautiful and rich with metaphors.
I downloaded a Kindle version of the original story before Barkat’s book arrived, but found it much easier to read in the graphic format. It’s a short story. But though it was easier, it took longer because of my need to study the illustrations. I will re-read this many times and spend more time immersing myself in the art of it.
Check it out for yourself.
Also, Sara Barkat analyzes the story here: The Yellow Wall-Paper Affects Us All.