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The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories

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Best known for the 1892 title story of this collection, a harrowing tale of a woman's descent into madness, Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote more than 200 other short stories. Seven of her finest are reprinted here.

Written from a feminist perspective, often focusing on the inferior status accorded to women by society, the tales include "turned," an ironic story with a startling twist, in which a husband seduces and impregnates a naïve servant; "Cottagette," concerning the romance of a young artist and a man who's apparently too good to be true; "Mr. Peebles' Heart," a liberating tale of a fiftyish shopkeeper whose sister-in-law, a doctor, persuades him to take a solo trip to Europe, with revivifying results; "The Yellow Wallpaper"; and three other outstanding stories.

These charming tales are not only highly readable and full of humor and invention, but also offer ample food for thought about the social, economic, and personal relationship of men and women — and how they might be improved.

The yellow wallpaper
Three Thanksgivings
The cottagette
Turned
Making a change
If I were a man
Mr. Peebles' heart.

70 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1892

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About the author

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

529 books1,408 followers
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 lifestyle. Her best remembered work today is her semi-autobiographical short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper", which she wrote after a severe bout of post-partum depression.

She was the daughter of Frederic B. Perkins.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,300 reviews
Profile Image for Shovelmonkey1.
353 reviews864 followers
August 1, 2011
Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Yup, that was me enjoying the spiralling descent into madness.

Ok all jokes aside, mental health is a serious issue and something which is more fragile than we realise - do not take it for granted people. We are lucky enough to live in a time when people recognise and understand depression and constructive, helpful treatments can be offered. Unfortunately for Charlotte Perkins Gilman, she inhabited the tail end of the Victorian Period when depression, post-natal or otherwise was a totally mysterious and misunderstood thing. A perfect Victorian solution to outward displays of "unusualness" was to put you in an assylum/prison/attic/foreign country (delete as viable depending on income and social status) and then just tell the neighbours that you were either indisposed for a reaaaaaaallllly long time, or that you were having a "little holiday". Similar to the little holiday you got sent on if you managed to get knocked up without having bagged yourself a husband first. Basically, you were disappeared for a while thus making everyone feel that society had been saved the awful sight of you making a show of yourself. Phew, well we wouldn't want to upset society now, heaven forbid!

The Yellow Wallpaper is Perkins Gilmans attempt to express the hopelessness of mental illness; effectively an invisible, inescapable cage around your mind (reflected by the imagery of the caged in woman locked behind the patterns in the wallpaper), which no one in the 1890s was capable of diagnosing correctly. Gilmans suffered from depression and so knew what she was writing about. I do always struggle with the idea of the self restraint which was exhibited by many of these women, the character in the Yellow Wallpaper included. If someone had repeatedly patronised me and told me that really there was nothing wrong with me apart from a mild case of nerves and the tendancy to be a bit hysterical, I'd have probably reacted by shouting

"HOW'S THIS FOR HYSTERICAL MOTHER F*CKER", before destroying all the furniture in the room. This snippet of text is short, sharp and truly sad with a suitably ambiguous ending, after all where does the madness end?
Profile Image for Beverly.
775 reviews266 followers
January 27, 2019
So, so good, the belittling and infantilizing treatment of this poor woman, and her entrapment in the room with the yellow wallpaper by her physician husband is a case history in how to drive someone completely insane.
Profile Image for Najeefa Nasreen.
57 reviews59 followers
April 13, 2022
5/5 stars

The fact that I like to enter into a book blindly is turning out to be fatal for me sometimes for The Yellow Wallpaper scared the crap out of me when I started reading it at 2 am.

description

The Yellow Wallpaper is the story of John's wife. Yes, you read it right. Her identity in the book is only that of someone's wife, to say the least. She is suffering from postpartum depression after giving birth to her daughter. They move to this beautiful house solely for the purpose of providing John's wife with what John thinks is the 'perfect rest' needed for her speedy recovery. John's wife, on the other hand, doesn't think lying down all day long on her bed is going to heal her in any way. Unfortunately, nobody pays any heed to what she thinks is right. The only thing that matters is what her husband thinks is right.

John's wife likes to write which is also something she isn't permitted to do during this time of her full rest. She has nothing to keep her occupied with. So, she keeps looking at the wallpaper on her wall. She notices it every day, and becomes obsessed with it, to the extent that she starts imagining patterns on it. It starts with seeing the wallpaper change as light changes, progresses to seeing a woman trapped inside the yellow wallpaper who is struggling to break free and ends with seeing herself trapped inside the wall.

description

Told from the first person's POV, this creepy and horrifying story bring out the concept of gender inequality concerning women before the world. We observe a really sad and bleak story of a bedridden woman slowly descending into madness over the tenure of three months.

"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!"

The topic that it deals with still resonates today. The idea of sanity depends completely upon someone else's perception of it is disheartening to know. What is frightening is that the story is based on the author's actual experience. I wholeheartedly recommend this short yet powerful piece of literature to everyone.

Review Posted: 31 Mar 2022.

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Profile Image for jv poore.
606 reviews196 followers
December 6, 2017
I read The Yellow Wallpaper in my 8th grade Literature class and I was a bit blown away. Parts of this short story have stuck with me since. So, when I spotted this tiny tome for only fifty cents, I had to have it.

The title story was every bit as eerie-creepy-quirky as I remember, but I had missed the stunningly superb writing. I'm so pleased that I revisited this! I thoroughly enjoyed the following stories as well.
Profile Image for Ivana - Diary of Difference.
543 reviews690 followers
February 25, 2022
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I haven’t read much classic reads this year, and a few days before the end of 2018, I decided to go for a classic short story, and I chose The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

This classic has been written by a woman in the 19th century. A time when women weren’t treated the same way as today. A difficult time, where women couldn’t express their opinion as they wished, but they were suppressed by the male authority in the family.

When The Yellow Wallpaper came out, it was considered a Gothic Horror Tale. It is hard to believe for me, knowing the world we live in today, and how we, as women can express our opinions openly. But back in the days, this is how it was. It wasn’t easy for the woman, and I am glad we have a lot of brave women from that time, that gathered the courage to tell stories for the next generations.

This is a story about a woman, who seems to suffer of post-partum depression (a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth). She has been forced by her husband and doctor to stay in her room until she is ”mentally capable” again to take care of her baby. I am not a mother, but I can imagine the pain and suffering of not being allowed to see and hold your unborn child. And people thought this was okay?

The woman is constantly staring at the yellow wallpaper and the window, constantly reassuring herself that this is all happening for her own good, and that the husband and doctor know best, until a point where we are not actually sure if she is in her right mind anymore.

She starts to see a woman inside the wallpaper, and believes the woman is struggling to break free. I loved the metaphor used, as her subconscious knows she is trapped, and the end is so painful to read, but oh, so powerful.

Even though such a short read, The Yellow Wallpaper is an impressive view on cultural traditions, and the position of women in the family. A classic and a must-have for every woman!

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Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews9,432 followers
December 15, 2007
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 because it works as a representational piece of a historical movement.

As early feminism, this work is an undeniable influence. It points out one of the most apparent symptoms of the double-standard implied by the term 'weaker sex'. However, Gilman tends to suggest more than she asks, thus tending toward propaganda.

It may be easy to say this in retrospect when the question "is isolating women and preventing them from taking action really healthy?" was less obvious back then. However, I have always been reticent to rate a work more highly merely because it comes from a different age. Austen, the Brontes, Christina Rossetti, and Woolf all stand on their own merits, after all.

This symbolism by which this story operates is simplistic and repetitive. The opinions expressed are one-sided, leaving little room for interpretation. This is really the author's crime, as she has not tried to open the debate so much as close it, and in imagining her opinion to mark the final word on the matter, has doomed her work to become less and less relevant.

This is the perfect sort of story to teach those who are beginning literary critique, because it does not suggest questions to the reader, but answers. Instead of fostering thought, the work becomes a puzzle with a solution to be worked out, not unlike a math problem. This is useful for the reader trying to understand how texts can create meaning, but under more rigorous critique, it is not deep or varied enough to support more complex readings.

Unfortunately, this means it is also the sort of story that will be loved by people who would rather be answered than questioned. It may have provided something new and intriguing when it was first written, but as a narrow work based on a simplistic sociological concept, can no longer make that claim.

The story is also marked by early signs of the Gothic movement, and lying on the crux of that and Feminism, is not liable to be forgotten. The symbolism it uses is a combination of classical representations of sickness and metaphors of imprisonment. Sickness, imprisonment, and madness are the quintessential concepts explored by the Gothic writers, but this work is again quite narrow in its view. While the later movement was interested in this in the sense of existential alienation, this story is interested in those things not as a deeper psychological question, but as the allegorical state of woman.

Horror is partially defined by the insanity and utter loneliness lurking in everyone's heart, and is not quite so scary when the person is actually alone and mad. Though it does come from the imposition of another person's will, which is horrific, the husband has no desire to be cruel or to harm the woman, nor is such even hinted subconsciously. Of course, many modern feminists would cling to the notion that independent of a man's desire to aid, he can do only harm, making this work an excellent support to their politicized chauvinism.

I won't question the historical importance or influence of this work, but it is literarily very simple. A single page of paper accurately dating the writing of Shakespeare's Hamlet would also be historically important, but just because it is related to the threads of literary history does not mean it is fine literature.
Profile Image for BrokenTune.
748 reviews200 followers
September 4, 2016
"This wallpaper has a kind of subpattern in a different shade, a particularly irritating one, for you can only see it in certain lights, and not clearly then. But in the places where it isn’t faded and where the sun is just so—I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design."

Classic horror in small doses provided by an author I had not heard about but who is now someone I will seek out for other stories.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper tells the story of a woman who is incarcerated in her own house and basically confined to rest in a room without being allowed to do anything. No work, no mental diversion. All because her keepers - mainly her husband - believe this is what is best for her, even though he does not understand the reason for the woman's illness:

"John does not know how much I really suffer. He knows there is no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him."

Over the three months (!) of her confinement, the woman has nothing to occupy her mind except for the room she is in and the wallpaper hanging in pieces:

"It is a big, airy room, the whole floor nearly, with windows that look all ways, and air and sunshine galore. It was nursery first and then playroom and gymnasium, I should judge; for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls. The paint and paper look as if a boys’ school had used it. It is stripped off—the paper—in great patches all around the head of my bed, about as far as I can reach, and in a great place on the other side of the room low down. I never saw a worse paper in my life. One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin."

In fact, the description of the room strongly reminded me of Stefan Zweig's Chess Story, where a prisoner is held and where isolation, inactivity, and a bare room is used as a form of torture. In order to keep sane, the prisoner starts an imaginary chess game against himself, which he cannot win.
So, when reading The Yellow Wallpaper's first few chapters, I suspected that the story might reveal similar motives. As the paragraphs went on, however, I became less interested in the motives of the "carers" (or captors) and instead increasingly interested in the woman's identity. She is not named. Was she a person or was she a ghost?

For a story written in 1890, The Yellow Wallpaper packs a lot of punch. I had not expected that the story was not really written as a horror story, but was written as social commentary based on the author's own experience, which in fact just adds to its poignancy.
When Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote the The Yellow Wallpaper, she knew about suffering from post-natal depression and had first-hand experience of the then newly developed prescription on rest cures - a treatment consisted primarily in isolation, confinement to bed, dieting, electrotherapy and massage - because she had been a patient of the developer of said cure, Silas Weir Mitchell, who even gets a mention in The Yellow Wallpaper.

I guess, this is another instance where fiction and fact are inseparable, and where circumstances that once described the fate of real people will now pass as classic horror.
Profile Image for Apatt.
507 reviews753 followers
October 13, 2017
“I never saw a worse paper in my life. One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin. It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide--plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.”


Oh my gawd! This story creeped me out! I have never heard of The Yellow Wallpaper until I saw this post Reddit’s “r/books”, the books discussion forum. After reading a few comments I decided to save it for reading in October when I tend to be in the mood for spooky reads.

The Yellow Wallpaper is about a poor lady with a nervous disposition moving into a creepy (but not haunted) mansion with her husband and sister in law. She is left to her own devices much of the time with little to do and she while away the time in her room with its “disturbing” yellow wallpaper. Her husband, a doctor, instructs her to get a lot of rest and refrain from doing any work. In the absence of anything to occupy her mind, she contemplates the colour and pattern of the wallpaper and begins to “see things”.

This is a very effective and disturbing 1892 short story. The author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, wanted to do more than give you the willies, however. The story is her exploration of how women with mental health issues are condescended to and not taken seriously by the medical profession and even men in general, including those who love them.

If you are looking for a quick, creepy read in a more psychological horror vein, The Yellow Wallpaper is just what the doctor ordered. F*k the “rest cure”, man.


Art by fit51391

Notes:
• Sorry I can't review the entire “The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories” collection, only have access to this story.

• This story is in the public domain, grab a copy from Project Gutenberg. An audiobook version is also available at Librivox .

Quotes:
“John has cautioned me not to give way to fancy in the least. 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.”

“But I must not think about that. 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.”

“Looked at in one way each breadth stands alone, the bloated curves and flourishes—a kind of "debased Romanesque" with delirium tremens—go waddling up and down in isolated columns of fatuity.”


Halloween Reads Fest 2017
Profile Image for Ron.
376 reviews84 followers
November 15, 2017
5 stars for The Yellow Wallpaper - Excellent short story. After looking into Gilman’s traumatic inspiration for writing it, I was wowed.

4 stars for the other stories included in this small book - all were good.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.2k followers
February 21, 2017
The Yellow Wallpaper, first published in 1992, is now a staple of middle and high school English classes and college (Gender and )Women’s Studies programs, linked to Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Ibsen’s The Doll House and similar texts reflecting on the damage patriarchy does to society, especially to women. Gilman wrote a lot of fiction, and also Women and Economics, was a friend of feminist and social reformer Jane Addams, and was increasingly a feminist critic of society.

Gilman also experienced a series of “nervous breakdowns,” and was treated for her condition in one of the “best practices” known at the time for women with “melancholia” with a “rest cure,” denied access to reading and writing (or basically any kind of stimulation), a practice she features in this autobiographical fictional story.

There are a lot of theories about what is going on in the story: it could be seen as an example of the gothic, worth of Lovecraft, a woman driven slowly by the patterns in the wallpaper in the room where she is kept isolated by her doctor husband. (She thinks it is a former nursery because there are bars on the windows, and one idea iis the large room was a gymnasium, because there are iron rings on the walls; hey, is this really a sanitarium her husband has put her in?) She, who just recently gave birth to a baby, may have Post Partum Depression, which would not have been a diagnosis 100 years ago.

She may be driven crazy by her infantilizing, hyper-rational husband, who might be seen as an emblem of the patriarchy, which has become the conventional reading, and mine. It is convincingly chilling, regardless of your interpretation.

I've read it several times over the years, most recently for a class I am teaching on madness in literature.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,080 reviews2,609 followers
June 4, 2018
"The Yellow Wallpaper" is a powerful short story about a woman going mad, in part because she's not allowed to do anything. Gilman did a beautiful job showing how frustrating it was when the woman's concerns weren't taken seriously, both by her husband and by others. The story is written as an argument against restricting women from activities — commanding them to "rest" isn't always restful; it's maddening.

I first read this story in high school, but I'm quite certain I didn't really understand it or fully appreciate it back then. Rereading it as an adult, after having suffered through plenty of mansplaining from coworkers and bosses, made me admire what Gilman accomplished even more. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Celia.
1,142 reviews141 followers
June 23, 2018
The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a prominent American feminist, sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction, and a lecturer for social reform.

In her lifetime, she wrote over 200 short stories. 7 of them are included here.

The Yellow Wallpaper. I could have never imagined that a story describing wallpaper could be so engrossing. The descriptions, however, depict a woman going deeper and deeper into madness. And how the misdiagnosis of her husband aided in that descent.

Three Thanksgivings. How a woman triumphs and gets her own way.

The Cottagette. What IS the fastest way to a man’s heart?

Turned. A woman betrayed finds an answer.

Making a Change. Two women collaborate to bring happiness to their lives.

If I Were a Man. A woman morphed into a man, hears the men’s thoughts.

Mr. Peebles’ Heart. A strong, unselfish woman helps an unselfish man and changes her selfish sister, to boot!!

These stories are the workings of a strong, feminist author describing strong women who show their strength through charm and grace. Reminds me of a steel magnolia. The stories read so well and all ended so satisfactorily. Strongly recommend.

5 stars.
Profile Image for Gloria Mundi.
123 reviews81 followers
August 6, 2011
This is a short story about a woman's descent into madness and I have just the t-shirt slogan for the protagonist:

EXCUSE ME. I HAVE TO GO AND MAKE A SCENE.

Because that's what I wanted her to do throughout, but we cannot really expect that from a genteel 19th century lady and that is when the story was written. So does that mean that it is now outdated and irrelevant to us emancipated 21st century women?

Personally, I have gone through a period in my life when I took some pretty heavy drugs, stayed up all night staring at the walls (fortunately, not covered in hideous yellow paper) and writing random quotes and poetry on them and indulged in a spot of self-mutilation. I also went through a mild form of "baby blues" after my daughter was born, mainly just bursting into tears whenever anyone said boo to me. I don't know whether I was technically depressed (is there such a thing? I feel there must be, as opposed to just a naturally sad and gloomy person with a tendency for weirdness who is feeling down, which may, I feel, be my particular diagnosis or, maybe, the term I am looking for is medically?) but, in any case, I was expecting to relate.

And do you know what, I actually did. What I think worked brilliantly in this story, frighteningly so, is the description of how the protagonist loses her mind by concentrating on the wallpaper, following its patterns, imbuing them with meaning and projecting and externalising her own problems through it. As I said, I used to have a bit of a thing for walls myself (though, clearly, nowhere near to the extent of the heroine, as I am still a sane and functioning member of society, trust me) and I found this aspect of the story, extremely creepy, recognisable and accurate.

I could even relate to the submissiveness and the apathy, because I can clearly remember feeling exactly that in my lower moments. That feeling of being completely separate from the whole world and honestly not caring one way or the other, of wanting to just sit there and being too tired to really do or feel anything. The heroine here seems to recognise what is happening, that what her physician husband prescribes as the cure is really not good for her but doesn't really have the energy or the strength of will to stage any sort of opposition other than her little rebellion in writing the journal entries. And, as much as I wanted her to scream and rant and rave, what Gilman writes is actually a much more accurate description of my own experience of the apathy of depression.

I also admired the disjointed haunted way in which the story is constructed leaving the reader with multiple questions to ponder. Is she really going mad? Would she still be going mad if she were not confined to a room and lacking any physical and intellectual stimulation? Is her husband a sinister jailer or a loving spouse earnestly trying to help her? Is he even really her husband? And what happens at the end is anyone's guess.

P.S. While I thoroughly enjoyed this particular story and generally enjoy books and movies about descents into madness, I also find the proliferation of mad women in film and literature somewhat disquieting. I have not done any sort of comprehensive analysis but I have personally come across many more insane female characters than male. And the women never seem to go mad in quite the same way men do either because they are so clever (as in A Beautiful Mind)or so brave (as in the case of shell shock (which is, I think, a form of male hysteria, but hysteria was, clearly, a term that was too female to be applied to soldiers) in e.g. Catch-22) or because they actually think that they are turning into a woman (as in Memoirs of My Nervous Illness). The Yellow Paper made me want to read something academic on the subject of women and madness. If anyone is able to recommend anything good on this topic, I am open to suggestions.

P.P.S. I only read the title story, so this review and rating only relate to that.
Profile Image for Jason Howl.
Author 4 books146 followers
May 28, 2020
I owned this book and read (in daylight) it a long time ago. I didn't think it was that creepy. Apparently, it's a different experience at alone at night. The image of the trapped woman creeping through the faded design of the wallpaper, then the image of the main character crawling over her passed out husband actually rang a low-key alarm bell in my chest.
Profile Image for Olivier Delaye.
Author 1 book213 followers
November 20, 2016
This well-written story about a depressed and possibly deranged woman who is convinced that the wallpaper of her bedroom is haunted/possessed/inhabited reminded me of China Mieville’s Details, which appears in his short story collection Looking for Jake. In both, the devil is indeed in the details…

OLIVIER DELAYE
Author of the SEBASTEN OF ATLANTIS series
The Forgotten Goddess (Sebasten of Atlantis, #1) by Olivier Delaye
Profile Image for Zaki.
89 reviews97 followers
November 15, 2012
A very sad tale about a woman who stares at her yellow wallpaper and gets so irritated and frustrated, that after a while she rips it off the wall.
Profile Image for Mary.
146 reviews79 followers
December 22, 2015
I read this short story a few months ago on someone's recommendation when I said that the tile design at a hotel was driving me insane.

In retrospect, the tile was fine.
Profile Image for A.E. Chandler.
Author 3 books146 followers
Read
June 22, 2021
“The Yellow Wall-Paper” is a classic, hitting home when it comes to how women are at times taken out of the equation of their own health and well-being because someone else “knows better” what they are feeling and how to “fix” them. Unfortunately, this is still a problem today, though often in less obvious ways. Many of the other stories in this collection are about women who start their own business, grow it from the ground up through hard work and common sense, and are then able to retire comfortably and independently. These stories get a little bit repetitive, but in the end it was refreshing to have several versions of that type of story left in my head, where the female protagonist wasn’t hoping for a love interest to come along, but was building a life where she could support herself against whatever outside circumstances were thrown at her.
Profile Image for Fiona.
63 reviews
February 27, 2011
Inspired. Chilling. Alarmingly realistic. Witty. Devastating. Dark. Empowering. Radical. Outstanding. Classic.

Although I read and reviewed the novella Herland during the autumn of last year it was indeed the title story in this collection which led me to the literary door of Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

I am not really very sure whether I would have prefered to have read these works first. I was beginning to feel a little ashamed at just how long The Yellow Wallpaper had been decorating my bookcase and so turned my attention towards the collection earlier this week since I was looking for a swift yet enriching read.

My slender Dover Thrift edition of The Yellow Wallpaper contains seven short stories:

The Yellow Wallpaper
Three Thanksgivings
The Cottagette
Turned
Making a Change
If I Were a Man
Mr. Peebles' Heart



'The Yellow Wallpaper' is certainly her masterpiece, however I adore and admire each of these stories, I covet the tone and texture and the complex layers of each distinctive narrative. The symbolism in 'The Yellow Wallpaper' is enthralling, horrifying, sublime; such a short, short story that when I had finished it I actually returned to page one and immersed myself into this terrifying yet oh-so-true tale of psychological ill-health all over again.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's unorthodox utopian feminism is brilliantly demonstrated in this collection. She explores the concept of 'madness', dips into some alternate realities, challenges gendered identities and through a feminist lens she raises questions and creatively explores issues of class and power.

Charming tales. Intelligent literature. Highly recommended.
16 reviews
Read
August 21, 2007
I first read the Yellow Wallpaper as a moderately young person, when I was more concerned with being a young quasi-socialite than actually dissecting literature to learn something about how to best live my life as an intelligent person. I thought of school as the time between weekends, and the class-to-class routine as an overly respite for afternoon fun. I found, upon re-reading, that this story can teach me about how we can choose our own perception. Somewhere between moving into the former children's nursery for better air circulation and being called 'my little pet' as a term of endearment, our dear protagonist developed a case of 'the nerves' that meant she can't keep reality and dream separate. Much like my desire (still!) to live for the weekends, our narrator lives for the darkness, when her newfound reality comes alive and tantalizes her senses. The night time, and the curiosity surrounding what was hidden in the wallpaper gave her an outlet for her imagination where her daytime identity would not. During the day, she despised that paper as much as she was fascinated at night. This woman was suffering before she arrived at this country home because she had no mode of expression!! I find it interesting how women, in general, can have love-hate relationships with so much in their lives- their hips, mothers, tan lines, career opportunities, our intelligence- and so often we direct that loathing towards ourselves and become unable to progress towards our better selves. The same facets of our lives that we agonize over and dwell on endlessly will command our attention as soon as our guard is down. This book encapsulates that compulsion to me. Rather than deny that attention during the waking hours, I seek fulfill the urge to follow my heart, regardless of the time of day. I am trying to learn, from this story, that rather than carry on like a stifled corseted housewife in a Victorian attic, I should seek to be full of wanderlust, curiosity and expression all the time, not only during the weekends.
Profile Image for Punya Gupta.
44 reviews82 followers
January 8, 2017
The Yellow Wallpaper is a chilling and brilliant short story of 6000 words by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Written in 1892 it is one of the first pieces of feminist literature available.
The story chronicles the descent of a woman into madness after she's kept under house arrest by her husband given her early signs of depression and anxiety.

This book was written in a conservative era where in women were not allowed to read and write and voice their opinions.

What's really thought provoking and disturbing is that Gilman's work is as relevant today as it was then.
The Yellow Wallpaper is hands down the best short story I've ever read.

A must read if you are a woman. Or not.
Profile Image for Lorraine.
104 reviews1 follower
February 13, 2018
I loved this collection of stories. My favorite was ‘Martha’s Mother’. I read it twice in a row with a mighty laugh at the end. Most made me SO HAPPY and grateful that I, as a woman, didn’t live in these earlier times. ‘The Wisteria Vine’ is one story I’d like to read around a camp fire or darkened fireplace on Halloween night. I love the author’s writing style. In most cases she brings you along slowly, building each story, then hits it out of the park sometimes abruptly at the end. 👍👍
Profile Image for Foteini Fp.
68 reviews15 followers
July 9, 2018
Ένα βίβλιο της κατηγορίας The Bell Jar με μιά ηρωίδα που μέρα με τη μέρα βουλιάζει ολοένα και πιο βαθιά στον ωκεανό της κατάθλιψης. Κλεισμένη με εντολή γιατρού και διαταγή του συζύγου σε ένα δωμάτιο του οποίου οι τοίχοι είναι ντυμένοι με μία απαίσια κίτρινη ταπετσαρία πάνω στην οποία επικεντρώνεται και δεν παύει να την μελετά ούτε λεπτό. Αυτό μου θύμισε τον Τρυποκάρυδο του Ρόμπινς. Το κεφάλαιο όπου η κοκκινομάλλα πριγκίπισσα Leigh-Cheri αυτοφυλακίζεται συμπάσχοντας με τον αγαπημένο της εγκληματία-βομβιστή Bernard και μελετά ασταμάτητα ένα πακέτο Κάμελ. (Δεν έχετε διαβάσει τον Τρυποκάρυδο; Μα γιατί;) Anyway I digress. Η ηρωίδα περνά σταδιακά στην παράνοια καθώς βλέπει ολόκληρες ιστορίες να εκτυλίσσονται πάνω στην ταπετσαρία εκ των οποίων δεν μπορεί να καταλάβει τι είναι ψέμα και τι πραγματικότητα, τι αλήθεια και τι γέννημα του μυαλού της.
Αστεράκια 3. Ολόκληρα και γεμάτα.
Profile Image for Julian Worker.
Author 32 books338 followers
April 28, 2022
The Yellow Wallpaper is a wonderful story, probably a 4.5 stars out of 5 story, where you gradually realise the story you're reading is written by a character who's slowly going insane. This in itself takes some getting used to. The other stories are good too, but not as interesting as the Yellow Wallpaper.
Profile Image for Lori.
24 reviews1 follower
September 28, 2007
Like anyone who's ever taken a Womens' Studies course, I read The Yellow Wallpaper for a class. I felt completely insane during the time I was reading it.

Then I came across "Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, and she says this "But the best result is this. Many years later I was told that the great specialist had admitted to friends of his that he had altered his treatment of neurasthenia since reading The Yellow Wallpaper. It was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked."

This is a powerful piece of work, but not a comfortable read. I can't say I enjoyed reading it, however.
Profile Image for The Bibliophile Doctor.
415 reviews178 followers
November 28, 2020
Its a beautifully crafted story of a woman and her slow descent into madness.. This is my third novel about women going into madness first two being the bell jar and veronica decides to die, not a doubt wonderful and heart touching tales written by two of the most appraised authors Sylvia Plath and Paulo coelho
But I can more relate to yellow wallpaper.
Sometimes I end up seeing patterns in bathroom tiles I can make faces and animals and other things clear enough. Sometimes I fancy two eyes looking straight at me talking to me.. (Doesn't mean I'm descending into world of madness.. I'm alright ) maybe that made me relate to it more
Anyways I loved reading it. Its wonderful that in just few pages Charlotte made such a impact.. Thank you goodreads for such a recommendation !!
Profile Image for Anne ✨ Finds Joy.
275 reviews65 followers
October 20, 2018
A super quick read at only 70 pages or so, this is a collection of seven short stories written in 1892 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a utopian feminist ahead of her time. The themes are as relevant today as back then. The Yellow Wallpaper is the most popular, and has a mildly suspenseful feel. The others had quite a bit of humor, attitude, and an outspokenness on gender issues that would have been surprising for the times.

My favorites were:
The Yellow Wallpaper (mental illness & the 'resting cure', repression of a woman's creativity and self-expression)
Three Thanksgivings (female self-sufficiency, expectations of female role)
Making a Change (motherhood liberation - working out of the home)

A quick, insightful, and worthwhile read.
Profile Image for Madeline.
766 reviews46.9k followers
September 8, 2009
Creepy as hell, but a really, really cool description of madness. I read this for a high school English class (advanced placement, thank you verra much), and we spent an entire class period discussing the ending and what the hell happened. I'm still not really sure - the best explanation I could think of was that the narrator hung herself, but that doesn't seem to really explain everything. Must re-read someday.

Read for: 12th grade AP English
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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