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The Yellow Wall-Paper

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  55,017 Ratings  ·  2,441 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
Published (first published January 1892)
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Kei Smith One of the major points in the story is that he doesn't pay any attention to what she wants or what she would like to do. She says she would like to…moreOne of the major points in the story is that he doesn't pay any attention to what she wants or what she would like to do. She says she would like to go outside -- why not let her go outside? She says she would like to be around people -- why not let her be around people? The "husband knows best" perspective -- even if he is a doctor -- is perhaps what hurts her most.(less)
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)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Khanh (the meanie)
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
...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 10, 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..
...more
Brina
Apr 04, 2017 Brina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Yellow Wall Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman written in 1892 is considered a story that is a leading feminist view about a woman's place in a traditional marriage during that time period. Gilman herself was an intellectual voice and staunch supporter of women's rights in marriage. Most leading magazines refused to publish this story and it was lost for many years. Once recovered, it has become an often talked about story in many literary anthologies.

The protagonist of this story is taken t
...more
Cecily

"My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go."
Oscar Wilde’s alleged final words.

International Women’s Day is perfect for reviewing this chilling short story, written by a utopian feminist in 1890. (Yes, I opened with Wilde, but I couldn’t resist, and he was also a victim of sexually-related prejudice.)

The Story

John’s wife. Jennie’s sister-in-law. A baby’s mother. She is anonymous. She writes furtively.

She is physically and mentally weak from “temporar
...more
Lisa
“He says that with my imaginative power and habit of story-making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies, and that I ought to use my will and good sense to check the tendency. So I try.”

Read in conjunction with Ibsen’s A Doll's House, this short story takes a darker turn than the play, refusing to offer a way out of a dilemma in 19th century traditional society.

The story of a young married woman with an infant, who is patronised and controlled by her husba
...more
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
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, a young wife suffering from anxi
...more
Jean
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
J.L.   Sutton
Apr 24, 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
Lynn
Jan 03, 2010 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
...more
Brad
Jun 16, 2013 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
...more
María
Jul 21, 2017 María rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excepcional cuento feminista donde la ALUCINANTE Charlotte muestra el papel opresivo y sumiso que vivían las mujeres burguesas. Cuánto me alegra que haya salido. Arrastrándose sí, pero salido al fin y al cabo. Qué bien sienta la libertad. Además, es una dura crítica al tratamiento psiquiátrico al que ella misma fue sometida y que casi la lleva a la locura. Chapó.

 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
...more
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
Bonnie
Oct 24, 2011 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
...more
♛Tash
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
...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
Iris
Oct 09, 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.
❀Julie
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 love ...more
Sara
Feb 26, 2016 Sara 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.

Adita ✨The Slumbering Insomniac✨
description

★★★★★★★★★★[10/10]

You would think you are doing womankind a favor by imprisoning her within the confines of the four walls. You call that protecting her from the evil eyes of the society. You would think brute strength is all that is needed to conquer your enemy and a woman lacks that very thing, and therefore is incapable of extricating herself from untoward situations. You would believe that all the problems in the world require none of that delicate handling that a soft fabric stuck in the tho
...more
Emer
Oct 12, 2016 Emer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emer 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
...more
Justin
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
...more
Stacey
Jul 16, 2017 Stacey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Yellow Wallpaper gives us a peek at attitudes toward women in the 19th century. That's a horror story right there. In this writing we have a glimpse at the slow descent of a woman suffering from mental illness and the misunderstanding of postpartum depression.

The husband, John, is a doctor and what his wife needs is to be confined in a room in the country to "get some air". The room is covered in peeling, patterned yellow wallpaper and it is here she starts to get delusional and sees women
...more
Anuradha
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
...more
Bam
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,
...more
Candi
"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
...more
Kaylin
Jun 28, 2017 Kaylin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“It does not do to trust people too much.”


Wow!

I was stuck in traffic, so I started this audio book--and an hour later when I finally pulled in my driveway, this was me:

description

Not sure what I expected, but this ended up a fascinating look at mental illness and women’s ‘hysteria.’

Taking place at the end of the 19th century, the story is written as woman's secret journal. She’s married to a physician who has his own treatment plans regarding her depression, or as he refers to it her “nervous dispositi
...more
Claudia
Apr 24, 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
...more
Joseph
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
...more
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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.” 47 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!” 43 likes
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