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The Yellow Wallpaper

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  72,285 ratings  ·  3,583 reviews
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's classic and remarkably early feminist classic. One woman's descent into insanity and despair, destroyed by her husband's 'love' and the controls of a patriarchal society. Now with an analytical, critical essay as an introduction.
Kindle Edition, 26 pages
Published June 16th 2014 (first published January 10th 1892)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  72,285 ratings  ·  3,583 reviews


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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 10, 2016 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
...more
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
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
Brina
Apr 04, 2017 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
...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 “
...more
Jaline
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xx2017-completed
This is not a happy story – not even in the slightest. Our protagonist and her husband and sister-in-law are spending 3 months in a rented home during renovations of their own home. The woman recently had a baby and has not been able to recover her energy nor the will to accomplish anything. She is a writer but her husband, a physician, tells her not to write because it will only add to her fanciful state of being.

On the one hand, he is very controlling – and his wife sees that as a display of
...more
J.L.   Sutton
Apr 24, 2016 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 ...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 (or probably first read for most people ...), it's clear that the horror is of a different sort: the
...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
...more
Bionic 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
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 ...more
Greta
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clever, eerie little story, which I highly recommend to anyone who thinks that depending on a caring spouse is all you need to be happy. Sometimes it's not, and it even can be harmful ; especially if your wallpaper happens to be yellow.
Elyse (semi hiatus) Walters
I debated about saying anything.....but here goes. Many of my favorite people love this book.

I thought this 99 cent book was odd.....even borders on being a horror story....its creepy-weird!!
Plus, right from the start -- I felt like I was reading a laundry list-- I was being talked 'at'. I found it irritating.

This is actually one of those books I wish I didn't read. I didn't like how I felt --and I don't think the book was 'that' worthy that I needed to feel so yucky after.

Read other reviews
...more
Bradley
Jun 16, 2013 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
...more
Lynn
Jan 03, 2010 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
...more
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
4 Stars
“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
...more
Vanessa
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After seeing two recent reviews from two reviewers I respect and getting different perspectives with complete opposing views made me want to pick up this short novella, at 64 pages long it was not much of a stretch to fit it into my day! I'm so glad I picked it up, it really is a peculiar story. It captures a real horror of a woman trapped by her nervous disposition as she describes her condition, you really get a real sense of dread at her fixation with the yellow wallpaper in the room where ...more
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
A story on how some well-meant intentions can have the worst possible consequences.

What I didn't like here was the too sinuous structure of the plot - we see a lot of raving, some fantasies and a bit of reflection of real life. Still, we have no background on anything and this book could have a lot of different twists hidden from us. Due to this it read a bit weird: some gal going crazy about wallpapers supposedly doing sneaky stuff, some guy forbidding his supposedly healthy wife any sort of
...more
mark monday
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-classic
There are so many insightful reviews already out there that analyze this absorbing 1892 short story; I fear I have nothing new to add...

Gilman's perfectly sustained masterpiece is a treasure trove and there are many things to contemplate: its proto-feminism and sharp, sharp commentary on how "good men" such as husbands and brothers - and their female allies - strive to keep women passive; its ingenious first person narrative featuring an increasingly unhinged and very unreliable narrator; its
...more
Peter
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is an extremely eerie and haunting story of a woman being depressed and not properly helped by her husband and other so called expert in a male dominated society. She begins to see patterns and faces within the wallpaper. The colour yellow is very important here. Does the confinement to that room has any positive impact on her health? Is there a cure for this woman and more important does the story end well? You really should give remarkable story a read. It's definitely worth more than one ...more
Rae Meadows
Oct 19, 2016 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
...more
L A i N E Y
The final five minutes of this audiobook, I went “yeah that sounds about right”. And I meant that in a non sarcastic way possible.

This is probably the most believable gothic story I have read. That is also a sincere opinion.

Just that it was such a trippy ride and only the matter of time as to when she would snap and when she did, it was just the most natural thing in the world at that point.



Listened @ Horrorbabble
Sara
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.

Bonnie
Oct 24, 2011 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
...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
♛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
...more
Wendi
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So intriguing.....

I can't even begin to put into words how this short story has effected me, but it has, and deeply. I believe this is one that will always haunt me. As someone that has battled depression and anxiety most of her life (my father also suffered from some type of mental illness), this story hits close to home.

An excellent piece of writing. A very short and quick read (only 35 pages) that everyone should add to their list!
Iris
Oct 09, 2015 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
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much has been made of the historical significance of this short story and quite frankly, to me it matters not a whit; what does matter is the clarity and lucidity of the prose, in delightful counterpoint to the substance of the tale. The story, after all, leads us into a descent into madness, and very few have described it as eloquently as Gilman.

Ostensibly, we are dealing with madness, of course; but perhaps more importantly we are dealing with the cages that women have lived in for centuries
...more
❀Julie
Dec 19, 2015 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
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Charlotte Perkins Gilman, also known as Charlotte Perkins Stetson, was a prominent American sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction, 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 ...more
“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.” 64 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!” 48 likes
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