Born on July 3, 1860, In Hartford Connecticut, although raised for most of her life in Rhode Island, author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman was an extraordinary yet complex person who was plagued by and over came many obstacles in her life. These issues were not only the influences that led her to write The Yellow Wallpaper, but the story is a mirror image of her life. Much of the subject matter addressed in The Yellow wallpaper are recollections of actual conflicting events that took place and overtook her own life. All of which, unbeknownst to her, began as she began life.
After Gilman's birth, her mother was told; by doctors that another pregnancy would kill her. Gilman theorized that her father, Frederick Beecher, a librarian and magazine editor, and grandson of Harriet Beecher Stowe, abandoned his family because his wife could no longer perform her duties as a wife (Schwartz xi)(Lane vi). Lane states that he "thereafter provided his family with little support, emotional or financial,"(vi) which subsequently led to their divorce when Gilman was about nine years old. The hardship of raising her family alone, along with the rejection of her husband because of her apparent failure of the only career for women at that time, Mary, Gilman's mother raised Charlotte with a distant and unemotional but controlling hand. .
Hedge recounts, through Gilman's autobiography, that her mother sacrificed both her own and her daughter's need for love, out of an understandably desperate yet inevitably self-destructive need for protection against betrayal; the mother seems .
literally to have refused so much as a light physical touch. It was her way of initiating Charlotte into the sufferings that life would hold for a woman. (42).
This is where I begin to see the similarities between the life of Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the woman narrating The Yellow Wallpaper. The lack of physical and emotional love from Gilman's mother is possibly the foundation upon which Gilman fashioned and unconsciously built her own inability to connect with others, including her own child.