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The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins…
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The Yellow Wall-Paper (original 1892; edition 1996)

by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Elaine Hedges (Afterword)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,295516,064 (4.05)1 / 207
Member:alceinwdld
Title:The Yellow Wall-Paper
Authors:Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Other authors:Elaine Hedges (Afterword)
Info:The Feminist Press at CUNY (1996), Edition: Revised, Paperback, 64 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, insanity, feminist

Work details

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892)

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Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
This story is interesting because it has many depths. This woman is trapped by something… Is she trapped by some illness? Or could it be her husband and those around her? What about her psyche? Or by the tiny room, with the ugly and haunting wallpaper, where she spends the majority of her time in?

Those around her only make this situation worse. Her husband, the head of the household is also a Doctor, making her situation even more pitiful. I’m slightly curious to see this story from the perspective of her husband, would it show him in the same light or would we see another side? You can see his love for her, so why then does it look like he is trapping her in this house.

The wallpaper is another interesting aspect of the story, the obsession behind the ugliness of it. This woman has strong observation skills that have been with her since childhood. This could be telling of extreme intelligence or autistic/OCD traits which would explain the unexplained “sickness”. I also think that when someone is depressed it can escalate by staying inside and being inactive. Sometimes the best cure is actually forcing yourself to do the things you don’t want to. All the people involved in her caretaking only placate her.
It only gets more interesting when she sees a woman trapped behind the pattern in the wallpaper. Is this a reflection of how she feels in her current condition? Is the trapped by those around her or just getting more paranoid?

This story ended up giving me the creeps. The description of the wallpaper woman crawling and shaking the pattern in front of her seemed right out of a horror movie. The descriptions gave me some very ghostly images and the idea of being trapped in a room days on end is the perfect setting for horrific imaginings. I really love it because it’s not the typical scary story, almost like the creepy parts are underneath and need to be dug up. The story really plays with reality, what is real and what is merely imagination. What is real to someone could be a trick of the mind and the start of crazy thoughts. How easy it is to lose ones sanity.

( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
This is a short story about a woman's descent into madness as she stays in a room with yellow wallpaper and grows obsessed with it. The themes behind it are that women in the late 19th century were often diagnosed with hysteria and mild mental problems when they were really struggling with post-partum depression or even something as simple as boredom. The subsequent treatment, in this case isolation and rest, often aggravated the problem. ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 20, 2014 |
Brilliant work and I love how disturbing people thought it was when she wrote it. As if one would have to be insane to be able to write that brilliantly. Loved it and will read it again. ( )
  KikiUnhinged | Feb 9, 2014 |
I first came across this title when working on a project involving influential women. What little I heard about this story intrigued me, and now having read it, all I can say is "wow". This definitely has a mind-blowing quotient to it and begs discussion. I also loved how it felt gothic. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Jan 5, 2014 |
A creepy supernatural tale that should be on every horror lover's shelf. ( )
  ARBraun7 | Jan 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charlotte Perkins Gilmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Farrell, MaggieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is a short story, do NOT combine with the collection.
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Book description
From the back cover:

'It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw - not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old, foul, bad yellow things...It creeps all over the house.'

Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrenched this small literary masterpiece from her own experience. Narrated with superb psychological skill and dramatic precision, it tells the story of a nameless woman driven mad by enforced confinement after the birth of her first child. Isolated in a colonial mansion in the middle of nowhere, forced to sleep in an attic nursery with barred windows and sickly yellow wallpaper, secretly she does what she has to do - she writes. She craves intellectual stimulation, activity, loving understanding, instead she is ordered to her bedroom to rest and 'pull herself together'. Here, slowly but surely, the tortuous pattern of the wallpaper winds its way into the recesses of her mind...

First published in 1892, this perfect novel echoes the great stories of Edgar Allen Poe, portraying with chilling power the powerlessness of women within Victorian marriage and the conflicting demands of work, wifehood and motherhood on a woman who longs to be free.
"The Yellow Wallpaper" is about a woman who suffers from mental illness after three months of being trapped within her home staring at the same revolting yellow wall paper. Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote this story to change people's minds about the role of women in her society, illustrating how women's lack of autonomy is detrimental to their mental, emotional, and even physical well being. The narrator in "The Yellow Wallpaper" must do as her husband and male doctor demand, though the treatment they prescribe to her contrasts directly with what she truly needs--mental stimulation, and the freedom to escape the monotony of the room to which she is confined. "The Yellow Wallpaper" was essentially a response to the doctor who tried to cure Charlotte Perkins Gilman of post-partum depression through a "rest cure," Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, and she sent him a copy of the story. Although "The Yellow Wallpaper" is not the first or longest of her works, it is without question Gilman's most famous piece and became a best-seller of the Feminist Press.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0912670096, Paperback)

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(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:35 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The study of a woman's gradual mental breakdown. While taking a rest cure, the wallpaper becomes her focus of discontent. While her madness progresses, so does her awareness of the way her creative energies are curtailed. Her obsession with the wallpaper continues as she struggles to free the woman crawling behind the pattern.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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