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The Yellow Wallpaper

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  47,922 Ratings  ·  2,012 Reviews
First published in 1892, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is written as the secret journal of a woman who, failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country rest cure. Though she longs to write, her husband and doctor forbid it, prescribing instead complete passivity. In the involuntary confinement of her bedroom, the hero creates a reality of her own ...more
Kindle Edition, Short story, 63 pages
Published (first published 1892)
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[Name Redacted] You may have to narrow this question down. Banned where? Challenged how? In the U.S. at least it's never been banned. Challenged? Well, there are…moreYou may have to narrow this question down. Banned where? Challenged how? In the U.S. at least it's never been banned. Challenged? Well, there are academic and private criticisms of it from all parties (it's too feminist! it's not feminist enough! it's insensitive to the mentally ill! it's not hard enough on the mentally ill! etc.)(less)
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Memoirs of Madness
4th out of 224 books — 292 voters
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Fictional Mental Hospital Novels
14th out of 213 books — 679 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Khanh (the Grinch)
Nov 16, 2014 Khanh (the Grinch) rated it really liked it
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
J.L.   Sutton
May 01, 2016 J.L. Sutton rated it it was amazing
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
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
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"
Apr 21, 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 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
The Yellow Wallpaper is a short novella from 1892, which has become a classic of the genre. It is a claustrophobic depiction of what would then be described as a woman's descent into madness, but now sounds more like severe post-natal depression. The story consists of passages from a secret journal, kept by the woman, Jane, who is losing her grip on reality. The narrator is confined to the upstairs bedroom of a house by her doctor husband, John, who diagnoses a "temporary nervous depression - a ...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
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
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
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
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
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
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
Feb 03, 2016 Joca 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
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
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
Sara Steger
Feb 26, 2016 Sara Steger rated it really liked it
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.

"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
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.
May 25, 2016 Puck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2016
This Little Black Classic turned out to be quite a surprise!

When I bought this book, I thought I was going to read feminist stories. What I actually got, were feminist psychological horror stories. Bundled in this little book are 3 of the 200 short-stories that Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote, and among them is her most famous one, "The Yellow Wallpaper".

This story blew me away. The mood and the setting is completely different from the other 'Victorian' stories that I've read this year. No sweet
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.
Mar 27, 2016 Anuradha rated it really liked it
Recommended to Anuradha by: Fatty Bolger
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
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
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
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
Tom Mathews
This is not only a great haunted house story, it's a fascinating look into mental illness, post-partum depression, feminism, 19th century medical attitudes. Don't miss it!
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  • The Story of an Hour and Other Stories
  • The Lottery
  • Rappaccini's Daughter
  • A Rose for Emily and Other Stories
  • The Tell-Tale Heart
  • The End of the Party
  • Trifles
  • Paul's Case
  • Good Country People
  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
  • Hills like White Elephants
  • The Laugh of the Medusa
  • Happy Endings
  • The Old Nurse's Story (Little Black Classics, #39)
  • In a German Pension: 13 Stories
  • The Willows
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.” 37 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!” 31 likes
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