Kathy Russo's Reviews > The Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
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Apr 02, 12


The Yellow Wallpaper is a well-written gothic classic. That being said, I did not love this book. It did not leave a lasting impression on me. 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.

Written in the 1890's this is a classic piece of gothic fiction. In the Yellow-Wallpaper, Gilman’s most famous and disturbing story, the house is portrayed as a domestic prison, a warden, and later as a mirror that depicts the awful break-down of the main character. In truth, I was not prepared for the subtle horror of the final scene due to Gilman’s clever use of language.

One thing that thoroughly irked me was the overly feminist tone and how the plots all began to merge together within the novel at an alarmingly fast rate. I am all for women's rights and power, yet not so much to the point of preaching and belittling men, which to me, is what made up this novel.

The narrator is…unreliable, to say the least. She is a mother confined to a room upstairs in a rented house, separated from her baby and prevented from doing anything at all. She tells us that the room has bars on the windows and rings on the walls because it was a nursery, but it is obvious that it has been set up as a secure place for a mentally-ill patient. There is a gate at the top of the stairs, and even the bed is nailed to the floor. The horrible yellow wallpaper is torn, but it doesn't take the reader long to work out who is tearing it.

The woman's secret journal is written in a bleak, fractured style, which adds to the sense of disorientation.

Overall, The Yellow Wallpaper was far not the worst book I’ve read, yet I simply did not truly care much for it.
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