Tag Archives: gender

Weston, Gabriel. Direct Red: A Surgeon’s Story

direct red dir_red

How does it feel to hold someone’s life in your hands? What is it like to cut into someone else’s body? What is it like to stand by, powerless, while someone dies because of the incompetence of your seniors? How do you tell a beautiful young man who seems perfectly fit that he has only a few days left to live?

Gabriel Weston worked as a surgeon in the big-city hospitals of the twenty-first century; a woman in a world dominated by Alpha males. Her world was one of disease, suffering and extraordinary pressure where a certain moral ambiguity and clinical detachment were necessary tools for survival. Startling and honest, her account combines a fierce sense of human dignity with compassion and insight, illuminating scenes of life and death the rest of us rarely glimpse.

Publisher: Vintage
Year: 2010
ISBN-10: 0099520699

Gilman, CP. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories

Fictional account of one woman’s experience of ‘hysteria’ in the early twentieth century.

Title: The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories
Author: Gilman, Charlotte Perkins
Publisher: Dover Publications Inc
Year: 1998
ISBN: 0486298574

Viewer Comments:

Comment

This is a really interesting story and one of the best explorations of psychiatric illness I’ve come across. I can’t remember all the details but I think the story is fairly autobiographical, about the authors own experience of postnatal depression (and psychosis?) compounded by the ideas about psychiatry and women) at the time.
On becoming depressed after the birth of her child the character is shut away for ‘rest’ in a kind of solitary confinement. With nothing else to do she begins to fixate on the yellow wallpaper in the her room. (Its better than it sounds!)

Even if you ignore the psychiological element this is a great wee gothic story. The added depth of mental illness under the guise of the supernatural reminds me of ‘the turn of the screw’ by James, another good, short read which was written around the same period

Comment

A short, short story that packs a lot in – you could read it for the gothic E.A. Poe feel, for the feminist critique of male and medical dominance, for the striking visual motif of that patchy yellow wallpaper, for the ‘descent’ into madness. I’ve just read it in the time it took to take a bath – so don’t worry that this is a lengthy tome!