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The Yellow Wallpaper

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  52,199 Ratings  ·  2,325 Reviews
The Yellow Wallpaper is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature, illustrating attitudes in the nineteenth century toward women's physical and mental health. The story also has been classified as Gothic fiction and horror fiction. The story is written as a collection of first person journal entries written by a woman whose physician husband has c ...more
Paperback, 38 pages
Published January 24th 2011 by Wilder Publications (first published January 1892)
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Michelle Milburn This is based on the authors experiences as a patient suffereing from depression. She was apparently only allowed 2 hours of mental exercise per day…moreThis is based on the authors experiences as a patient suffereing from depression. She was apparently only allowed 2 hours of mental exercise per day which almost drove her insane. As she came out of her depression she embellished and exaggerated the experiences she had and wrote The Yellow Wallpaper.(less)
Emma It seems that editions vary in what they contain. Mine (Virago 1981 reprinted 2002) has the short story (27 pages) followed by commentary (22 pages).…moreIt seems that editions vary in what they contain. Mine (Virago 1981 reprinted 2002) has the short story (27 pages) followed by commentary (22 pages). I've seen others which includes more works.

Project Gutenberg has it for free if you don't mind an e-version.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Khanh (the Grinch)
If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do?
This may not be a ghost story, but it is a tale of horror just the same. The most frightening books do not make me cower underneath my covers in the dark. They give the feeling of despair, they make the reader empathize with the darkness and emotional turmoil of the narrator. They
Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 11, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, gothic
”If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression---a slight hysterical tendency---what is one to do?”

Well, one must quit being a silly goose and get better.

The baby is fine; thank goodness, the baby is fine. It is safe, safe in another room. Away from the horrid yellow wallpaper. This wallpaper is an artistic monstrosity, an assault on the senses. It is so yellow it reeks of..
Bookworm Sean
Here follows the diary of a moronic Victorian husband.

>Three days before treatment:

I’ve got a great idea. My wife is suffering from low mood. So I, being an extremely practical Victorian man, have decided that the best solution for the problem is to restrain her in the house. This is clearly a brilliant idea. Our marriage simply doesn’t restrain her faculties enough.

It makes sense you see. I got the idea from the prestigious Dr. Silas Mitchell. He describing what he calls his "rest cure"
This has got to be one of the most impressive short stories ever written, up there with the very best. Written in the late 1800's, it is surprisingly modern in its form & content. When I was an undergraduate, Charlotte Perkins Gilman was an undiscovered writer, but thankfully she's been very much discovered now: I've read her nonfiction ('Women and Economics'--very forward-thinking re: communal kitchens and daycare) and her utopian novel, 'Herland.' She also has some other terrific short sto ...more
Aug 04, 2016 Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I typed the title into the search just to see if it would come up. I had no idea that this was a classic work. I never could recall the author's name, but from the reviews, I can see that I am not alone in how it still sits with me decades later.

I was only 13 or 14 years old when I sat in on my aunt's college literature class. I sat in the back, and the teacher gave me a black and white copy of the text so I could read along with the class. I remember the debate raged on in the class, but we re
J.L.   Sutton
May 01, 2016 J.L. Sutton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Yellow Wallpaper is a short but powerful masterpiece in which Charlotte Perkins Gilman offers insight into oppression and madness. It remains (despite being written in 1892) as relevant as it is haunting. Many people know the story of how Gilman's narrator is forbidden to write by her husband/doctor and fights for autonomy in the patterns of wallpaper. Liberation from his and society's oppression of women is only available in this internal struggle which ultimately leads to a mental breakdow ...more
May 16, 2016 Brad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone with a desire to understand how they're trapped by life.
I was reminded of this little piece by a fellow reviewer and while I read it way back in college, several things still stick in my mind.

First, the prevalent psychology of Freud during the time-period: This novel portrays the kind of circular thinking that could happen to anyone in that particular time and station. Any person of a protected, apparently weak, and especially underclass station could find the confines so stifling that it might break their mind. Of course, this isn't to say that ever
Feb 29, 2016 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bonnie by: 1001 Books to Read Before You Die
’This paper looks to me as if it KNEW what a vicious influence it had!

There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down. I get positively angry with the impertinence of it and the everlastingness. Up and down and sideways they crawl, and those absurd, unblinking eyes are everywhere. There is one place where two breadths didn't match, and the eyes go all up and down the line, one a little higher than the other.’

Man, that yellow wal
Published in the early 1900s, The Yellow Wallpaper is one of the first recognized feminist pieces. It is the story of a woman who is considered to be of delicate disposition and health so she is isolated from everything. In her isolation, she fixates on the crawling headless human shapes she sees in the tattered yellow wallpaper of her bedroom. *shudders*

It's easy to see why this is considered to be a feminist piece. It details a very infuriating treatment of a woman who has suffered some sort o
Rae Meadows
Oct 19, 2016 Rae Meadows rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure I have much to add about this story from 1892, but I had never read it and was glad to finally do so. It is an incredibly sad story of a woman's descent into mental illness hastened by a rest cure imposed by her physician husband. There are different layers, one being an early feminist critique of women's subjectivity in a marriage, through the story of a woman whose agency has been taken away by her husband. There are a couple of eerie mentions of a baby in another room taken care ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
This is my second read of this story, and I gave it four stars this time. It's a very well-written story. Ms. Gilmore crafted this tale in such a way that you feel as twisted as the narrator does. It's clear that mental illness plays a major role in the mindset of the narrator. But, there is a little shred of doubt (at least in my mind) that there might be some otherworldly component. It's hard to tell, because we are seeing things through her perceptions, which are clearly not rational.

I think
This book stands out in my mind mainly because of an argument I had with our English teacher that lasted the length of an entire English class, over whether or not the room was actually originally a childrens' playroom, or some kind of sinister crazy-wife-locking-up-room.

My argument: "She's an unreliable narrator! And why would a children's playroom have weird metal rings on the walls and bars on the windows?"
Her argument: "Yes, but she says it's a childrens' playroom."
My counter-argument: "BUT
Nov 07, 2015 Iris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, own, reviewed
Just like peeling back layers of wall-paper, this concise, succinct and haunting classic has intricate patterns of meaning, which will continue to enthral and capture the imagination and reflection of my mind. This book is also universally relevant today as a poignant exposure of mental health, its surrounding stigmatisation and of inequality.
Dec 19, 2015 ❀Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This powerful little book completely changed my perspective of short stories. It was a super quick but fascinating read, and I was amazed at how the author managed to create such a deep, dark escape in so few pages.The narrator is suffering from a “nervous depression” (or what would likely be known today as postpartum depression) but her patronizing physician husband dismisses her concerns, leading to her confinement in a room with the yellow wallpaper where her imagination runs wild.I loved it ...more
Jul 23, 2016 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short story written in 1892 is an eerie depiction of a woman's descent into madness. Much has been written about what it means, its bent toward feminism and the role of women during this time period

I'm just not very good at literary criticism or looking beyond the story. So, I mean, if you like Stephen King's short stories you have to spend a little time with this story. If you liked Head Full of Ghosts, you need to read this and compare it to some of the descriptions in that book. Mr. Trem
Sara Steger
Feb 26, 2016 Sara Steger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Wow, this is a powerful short-story that makes quite a statement about insanity, the need of a woman to have choices and independence, and the unintentional cruelties of those who fail to listen or acknowledge another's suffering. I was stunned by how much Gilman managed to say in so few pages.

Emer (ALittleHaze)
Oct 15, 2016 Emer (ALittleHaze) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emer (ALittleHaze) by: Anuradha
"John does not know how much I really suffer. He knows there is no REASON to suffer, and that satisfies him."

I was going to write a full review about this but I really struggled to find the words. And then I read my GR friend Anuradha's review and I think she has beautifully expressed every feeling and emotion about this story that I felt myself. So I urge you to read her review, find it here , and then go grab yourself a copy of this wonderful novella. It is even available for free on Projec
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
The first time I read this 1892 short story, years ago, in a collection of horror stories, I thought awful and very creepy things were really happening to the main character; i.e., weird fungus-growing wallpaper and a weirder lady actually hiding in the wallpaper pattern of a young wife's room in their vacation home. <----- I was a little young and often oblivious to subtext.

On second read, it's clear that the horror is of a different sort: the main character is slowly going psychotic. It's s
Joana Cotidiana
Feb 03, 2016 Joana Cotidiana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Publicado no final do século XIX, este conto é composto por entradas de um diário secreto de uma mulher casada e mãe há pouco tempo que devagar vai enlouquecendo…

Li em português e depois de ver umas teorias e análises da obra decidi aproveitar para ler em inglês também (e não achei complexo) porque queria experienciar o conto de novo e gostei muito mesmo!

A forma como vamos vendo a protagonista, cujo nome nunca sabemos qual é, misturando o real e o imaginário é assustadora e isso acontece de uma
I decided to read this excellent short story because of the mention of it in Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. (Surprisingly, this story was never read/discussed in any of my many English-lit classes but has been on my tbr list for years.)

In Dead Wake, one of the passengers aboard the doomed ship had been treated by Dr Silas Weir Mitchell, a physician famous for his 'rest cure' for women suffering from neurasthenia. It seems he had also treated the writer, Charlotte Perkins Gilman,
Stacey (prettybooks)
This post is part of the 2015 Classics Challenge.

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
I discovered it while browsing Penguin's Little Black Classics. I've always been interested in mental illness and discussions about mental illness – including taking two 'Madness and Society' courses at university – and so it seemed like a great one to try out. I bought it alongside The Old Nurse's Story .

WHY I Chose to Read It
I wanted to read an 'old' classic in April and because I've been quite a slow reader this
Nicay │  The Nerdy side of a Queen

Review also posted on The Nerdy side of a Queen

This one of the classics that I read since I am in high school. And I still remember some of the details, especially the creepy yellow wallpaper. When I read it before, I just don’t mind all the details or importance that it would give. And because I became inspired by the review of Adita, I eagerly get this book and read it again.

I know some of you knows the summary or even the story of this classic book. I would not include any summary in this r
Apr 30, 2016 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Das Grauen kommt langsam, dafür um so nachhaltiger (English review behind)

Charlotte Perkins Gilman beschreibt die Wahrnehmungen und Empfindungen einer jungen Frau, die an postnataler Depression leidet. Durch eine folgenreiche Fehlbehandlung ihres Mannes, einem "Arzt", gleitet sie Tag für Tag mehr in den Wahnsinn.

Eine gelbe Tapete wird ihr dabei zum Verhängnis.

Zuerst gefällt ihr die Tapete nicht. Sie verfolgt die Muster, fühlt sich von ihnen bedroht. Nach und nach nimmt sie in der Tapete Gestalt
"If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression - a slight hysterical tendency - what is one to do?"

This short story written in 1892 is really a very sad and somewhat eerie narrative of a woman's descent from a state of depression to that of insanity following a prescribed treatment of rest and confinement issued by her physician husband. Denied interactions with others and ev
Jan 22, 2015 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
A slow slip into madness. Haunting. A touch horror mixed with a psychological Johnny Got His Gun.

The obsession with the wallpaper reminded me of when I was a young child. In the predawn light I would watch a painting in our living room of a ball. I believed I actually saw the people dance inside the painting. I would watch the dance until one of my parents woke or it became full daylight; the dance would stop. A trick of light or just an over active imagination, I am not sure. But that's memory
Fatty's beautifully written review led me to this.

Imagine, for a minute that you are sick. A sickness that only you believe you have, and the world and its mother think everything is normal. That all you need is a little rest, and you will be 'normal' again. Imagine being stuck in a room for days, nay, weeks on one end, just watching the world around you, imagining things, and waiting for something to happen. Imagine not being able to do anything that you want to do, but instead being at the be
Oct 04, 2015 Mario rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Now why should that man have fainted? But he did,and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time!

Surprisingly, I ended up liking this story so much more than I thought I would. I had to read it for uni, and I always feel iffy about those reads, and I usually don't enjoy them as much I enjoy reading books I pick up myself. But this one was a huge surprise.

This is a story about an unreliable narrator, and throughout the story we see how she slowly descending into m
OH THE POWER OF THE WRITTEN WORD.....In this compelling and ingenious short story of insanity, I could just "feel" the torment and inner turmoil of the female narrator's controlled world.....her need to tear down the rest of the creepy wallpaper with the eyes that see and movement be rid of the bolts holding the bed to the floor and bars on the windows......and, most of all, to eliminate the chains holding her under (her husband) Dr. John's rule.....

This "dark" 21 page look at h

3.0 stars. "Eerie" is the best word I can think of to describe this classic story about a woman's slow descent into madness after suffering what appears to be the effects of postpartum depression following the birth of her child. Written in the 1890's this is a classic piece of gothic fiction. I didn't love it but certainly found it a unique story that will stay with me for sometime.
Sarah Churchill
Aug 08, 2015 Sarah Churchill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I'd heard the name of this story thrown around a few times in the context of scary classics, so when I saw the LBC version I picked it up.

I'm not sure I'd call it a horror story, more a horrifying story for feminists; the rapid downward spiral of an intelligent woman literally oppressed into madness. It's so very creepy, and a fantastic story both of its time and before its time.
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Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a prominent American sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and non fiction, and a lecturer for social reform. She was a utopian feminist during a time when her accomplishments were exceptional for women, and she served as a role model for future generations of feminists because of her unorthodox concepts and lifestyle. Her best remembered work today i ...more
More about Charlotte Perkins Gilman...

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“But I MUST say what I feel and think in some way — it is such a relief! But the effort is getting to be greater than the relief.” 38 likes
“Now why should that man have fainted? But he did,and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time!” 37 likes
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