The Yellow Wallpaper

Monday, March 7, 2011


The Yellow Wallpaper
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
★★★★☆

Short and über creepy, this story is told from the point-of-view of a woman staying in the country with her husband. She’s recovering from an unnamed illness (possibly post-partum depression) and her husband has set her up in a room by herself. The walls are covered with an ugly yellow wallpaper and as the story progresses she becomes obsessed with it.

She begins to believe she can see a woman lurking behind the designs in the wallpaper. The longer she remains confined to the room the deeper she descends into her madness, taking the reader along for the ride.

The story was published in 1892 and is often called one of the first pieces of feminist literature. It’s a chilling look at the “treatment” women were often given and the lack of freedom they were permitted in these situations. It’s also just a great scary story, so there’s something for everyone.

For another review see Sandy’s great comments at You’ve Gotta Read This!

9 comments:

Charley said...

I remember reading this one in high school and liking it. I'll have to seek it out again.

Amanda said...

I need to reread this. My experience with it in college was tainted by the person who gave it to me, so I only glanced through it, determined to hate it.

BookQuoter said...

Thanks for the review. I will have to look for this. That cover looks creepy!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Hey thanks for the shout out! This story is great for so many reasons. The peek into the treatment of women back then, the creepiness, AND you can read it in a day. I also found the background of the author interesting as well!

Avid Reader said...

Charley - I wonder what my reaction would have been if I'd read this one in high school. I don't know if I would have like dit as much.

Amanda - I have books like that too. Sometimes a person's love for a book can ruin it if you don't like that person.

BookQuoter - I love the cover!

Sandy - I did too. It sounded like she went through post-pardum in her own life.

Jessica said...

I read this years and years ago and I thought then it was a creapy disturbing tale. I have no idea what I would think now having since found out the story behind it.

Jillian said...

I have not heard of this book before, but this sure looks interesting! I should probably read this. Is it anything like The Bell Jar? I don't know if I would want to read anything depressing again anytime soon. LOL.

Avid Reader said...

Jillian - To me it was nothing like The Bell Jar. This one is more of a distracted wandering journal, The Bell Jar is one woman's depressed thoughts. This one wasn't depressing at all and it's so short there's no time to let the story weigh you down. The books have very different feels.

bibliophilica said...

This story has long been one of my favorites (more fore the creepy factor than the "proto-feminism" factor, admittedly)

I just recently re-encountered it when helping a new friend (who has gone "back to school") with her "homework" for lit class. Her anthology textbook had a lot of short stories and, sure enough, there was Charlotte Perkins Gilman...