The Yellow Wallpaper
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The Yellow Wallpaper

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  25,106 ratings  ·  1,020 reviews
Based on the 1892 New England Magazine text, this teaching edition of The Yellow Wallpaper includes a generous selection of historical materials. The documents are organized into thematic units and features nineteenth-century advice manuals for young women and mothers; medical texts discussing the nature of women's sexuality; social reform literature concerning women's rig...more
Paperback, 377 pages
Published January 15th 1998 by Bedford/St. Martin's (first published 1892)
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Jessica
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
Lynn
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 authors 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 rea...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
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...more
Adam
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...more
Bonnie
Dec 08, 2011 Bonnie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Stephen
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.
Sue
Well-written description of a "nervous" woman's descent into full madness. This was initially published in 1892 but still can make the reader shiver.
Shruti
A “descent” into madness. Or is it one?

You watch her as she spirals out of “control”. Delicious spirals. Radiating towards you. A centrifuge, drawing you in.
You watch as she etches her inky inklings, then watch as they grow into a black hole of reality, hers and then yours. Watch.

The wallpaper of her home/house/prison leers at her, and then you. Yellow, peeling.
Her family/housemates/captors leer at her madness, and then yours.

It is insidious this wallpaper. One moment it is inorganic, barre...more
Flannery
Originally published in 1899, the slight, 30-odd page story is one of the creepiest glimpses into the process of a mental breakdown I have ever read. Republished by The Feminist Press in 1973, the afterword of the edition I read spoke of the author’s prolific career as a writer, poet, publisher, and academic. She wrote several textbooks, opened her own school, and for several years of her life wrote, published, and edited her own magazine, which amounted to about 21,000 words per month. (Hedges,...more
Lisa
Jan 08, 2011 Lisa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: A Rat in the Book Pile (Sarahbbc)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
In Edgar Allan Poe's "A Tell-Tale Heart" an insane man narrates. Here, a young wife, seemingly on the verge of full-blown insanity, hallucinates in a vacation house with the old, yellow wallpaper in her assigned room as the main focal point of her growing delirium.

She writes this in short, crisp sentences with many paragraphs going just one or two sentences. There's a keen sense of immediacy. She says her husband forbids her from writing, partly blaming it for what makes her nerves fail. He is a...more
Fatin
I read this one initially as a reading assignment for language class. I was blown away. I read it, then I read it again, then again, then we analysed it in class, then I went back home and read it again, and then I bought the book and read it again. And then once again after my mother had read it. Magnificence continues to seep in whenever I read it again.
I've heard some bullshit theory about how this book is no longer relatable or something, and that just makes me angry because yes, it was wri...more
Moses Kilolo
Sep 30, 2013 Moses Kilolo rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Moses by: Mal Odious
The introduction to this short short story tells us that the author; Charlotte Perkins Gilman, suffered a severe form of postpartum depression. That, and the fact that she was an accomplished and an unapologetic feminist, combines to inspire this story, published in 1892 and still very relevant.

The Opening sentence; it is seldom that a mere ordinary people... prepares us not just for a different era, but also a way of life and the people that saw and lived life differently.

Their world is seen th...more
Rachel
Jane is a woman who is suffering from depression. She is a character created by Charlotte Perkins Stetson for a story she wrote called “The Yellow Wallpaper”. Jane has a husband named John. He is the one who takes care of her when she is going through depression. John’s treatment for Jane’s depression is to not allow her to read, write, or think about her condition. She disobeys him and hides a journal in which she writes her thoughts and emotions. Through the things she wrote in her journal, we...more
Marvin
Short, odd and maybe a bit too over-hyped for me to thoroughly enjoy it.This early feminist tale tries to be a bit too obtuse for my taste. Is the narrator going mad ? is she already mad? Did the treatment for her depression make her mad? Do I care? All of these question are diverted by an unreliable narrator and complicated by an unreliable reviewer. If only I can get someone to remove this Hello Kitty wallpaper that showed up in my office overnight, perhaps I can make sense of everything. Wher...more
Riku Sayuj
Nov 26, 2011 Riku Sayuj rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Tanuj Solanki
What a brilliant descent into madness. How horrifying. I read this too young and it completely over powered me. I think it also gave me a fever...
David
Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" can certainly be read on a number of levels. On the surface it is the stirring story of a woman descending deeper into a neurasthenic psychosis, chronicling her descent in a secret diary, but there are many other layers and angles which haunt Gilman's slim story.

There is the feminist angle, which is perhaps the most common strata of meaning employed in analysis of this short story, and one on which I will not dwell. In many ways it echoes Ibsen's Doll's House, wi...more
Keely
Roland Barthes talked about 'writerly' and 'readerly' books. I've struggled for a long time, myself, in trying to come up for terms to talk about the differences between deliberate works and those which are too bumbling, too one-sided, or too ill-informed to make the reader think.

While The Yellow Wallpaper brings up interesting points, it does not really deal with them. The text has become part of the canon not for the ability of the author, which is on the more stimulating end of middling, but...more
Thomas
I usually don't enjoy short stories, and I was originally going to give this one a 3-3.5, but after analyzing it in my AP Lang class I've decided to rate it 4 stars.

I loved how the horror/creepiness aspect of the story was combined with the theme of feminism. The extended metaphor of the wallpaper as the restricting force that oppresses women in society worked well, and the narrator's unreliability and descent into dementia was unsettling and powerful. If one were to read this short story and no...more
Sharon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Becky
This was a creepy little story! I really liked it though.

Written as a series of journal entries, we see this woman slowly descend into madness. She's forcibly secluded away in a single room of a rented house for the summer, so that she can rest away what her physician husband calls her "temporary nervous depression," and she is prevented from working, interacting with people other than the few allowed by the hubs, banned from writing, presumably reading or doing anything, and in short is just l...more
Prashant
This was terrifying !!

More than the queer behavior of the lady and the disturbing descriptions of the patterns of the wallpaper, I was worrying myself with the way the guy treated his wife. Throughout the story the husband of the lady was trying to be very caring and gentle but her problems were much more than he could have imagined.

Every time she felt the strange vibes of the room and noticed the queer way the patterns on the wallpaper convoluted, she asked him for help but the very rational a...more
Tammy Walton Grant
Ah, the unreliable narrator plot device:

In some cases the narrator's unreliability is never fully revealed but only hinted at, leaving the reader to wonder how much the narrator should be trusted and how the story should be interpreted.

I HATE WHEN THIS HAPPENS!

For an ADD skim reader like myself, used to being spoon-fed each character's every waking thought, action and deed, this device involves a lot of work on my part. I don't know what to think at the end: is she truly crazy? Isn't she? What...more
Pragya
Jan 24, 2012 Pragya rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Psychology and mental health enthusiasts and readers
Recommended to Pragya by: Mikki
Shelves: 2012, psychology
A sort of creepy book in which the protagonist creeps all over. Ha ha! You have to read the story to understand what I mean. The story is told from the depths of mental illness- clear, vivid, amusing, disheartening and striking! I loved the conceptualization and description of the story. A little read but it makes you think for hours after. The language is beautiful and there is so much show rather than tell in the writing that I could see clear visuals of the happenings. You must read this one...more
Nora
One of my all-time favorite short stories. By being told through the journal of the mentally disturbed narrator, the story becomes even more unsettling. The reader sees firsthand the deterioration of the narrator's mental state. The tone of the story gets darker and more disturbing until its shocking, twisted ending. A true classic, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is proof that great things come in small packages.
Dray
When I was 16 I finally had a doctor tell me I was not crazy. I was not just destined to walk around in perpetual tears. I didn't have to be nervous to the point of throwing up every day before school for my entire school career. No longer was I going to have to hide under blankets with the lights off the second I got home.

This story scared the crap out of me, because what if I lived in a time where I was simply told I needed more rest? (There was a time where I slept 15-16 hours a day...) Or...more
Megan
The Yellow Wall-Paper is an excellent short which chronicles a woman's mental instability. All we really know is that she is an unreliable narrator. But is her issue due to postpartum depression? A more severe mental illness? Or perhaps the result of a genuine paranormal occurrence? Or is her physician husband giving her medicine to make her hallucinate and keep her unwell?

It seems silly to write a long review for such a short story. I definitely recommend this for lovers of mysteries, classics...more
Giselle
So creepy! You can read it here (it takes like 15 mins!): http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-sto...
Amanda L
Quite similar thematically to Chopin's The Awakening and first published only three years prior. But this short story is certainly a more striking representation of the ill effects of the one-track role defined for women who were a product of the late 19th/ early 20th century.

While Chopin does a better job capturing a transformation and ownership of self with her female protagonist, I don't believe that was Gilman's intent; rather her agenda seems instead to emphasize the detrimental effects on...more
Stela
The beauty of any good work is that it is open to a lot of (and often contradictory) interpretations, since it is a well-known truth that the artworks are chameleonic, and once a book is finished, the authorship is demoted, so to speak, by readership.
So, even if "The Yellow Wallpaper" was written (according to its author) in order to show up the medical and professional oppression against women at Gilman's time, and even though it was reclaimed afterwards by feminist movements as one of their m...more
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Did anyone else get chills? 6 30 Mar 19, 2014 04:13PM  
I think this is my favourite short story. 11 86 Mar 03, 2014 04:56PM  
The Ultimate Teen...: The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman 6 25 Mar 02, 2013 11:15PM  
Classics for Begi...: The Yellow Wallpaper 6 65 Jan 26, 2012 06:24AM  
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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...
The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories Herland The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Writings (Bantam Classics) Herland, The Yellow Wall-Paper, and Selected Writings Women and Economics

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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.” 13 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!” 13 likes
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