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The Yellow Wallpaper [short story] (1892)

by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,5221124,395 (4.03)1 / 346
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 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...… (more)
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    The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (SandSing7)
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    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (wonderlake)
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    The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood (Anonymous user)
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    Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (KayCliff)
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    The Awakening and Selected Stories by Kate Chopin (Booksloth)
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    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (TheLittlePhrase)
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    The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Maggie O'Farrell says that The Yellow Wallpaper was a major influence in writng The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
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    The Widow's House by Carol Goodman (sturlington)
    sturlington: The Widow's House makes several allusions to "The Yellow Wallpaper."
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    The Shutter of Snow by Emily Holmes Coleman (meggyweg)
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    The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski (SJaneDoe)
  11. 01
    The Vegetarian by Han Kang (MissBrangwen)
    MissBrangwen: Although they were written in different periods of time, both texts reminded me of each other because of their dealing with the female experience of confinement.
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    The Collector by John Fowles (infiniteletters)
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English (110)  German (1)  All languages (111)
Showing 1-5 of 110 (next | show all)
Wow. These three short works are very impressive and amazing. Beautifully written. And the edition is quite a nice little book. ( )
  JCanausa | Feb 1, 2021 |
This was a reread for me. I listened to this one in 2018. The audiobook was narrated by Jo Myddleton, and I gave it the full five stars. For such a short story it packs a punch, and it is one that has stayed with me. Last year, when I saw that they had made a GN version of it, I ordered it right away. I was really impressed with how well the illustrations captured the growing tension and the main character's descent into madness. This horror classic is considered feminist literature, too, because it does a beautiful job of depicting how few choices the main character has just because she is a woman. I just can't recommend the story itself highly enough, regardless of what format you prefer. I loved that the GN is unabridged - all of the text from the original story is there beautifully brought to life by the illustrations of Sara Barkat. ( )
  Crazymamie | Jan 15, 2021 |
Interesting short story about attitude towards mental health. ( )
  madhukaraphatak | Aug 12, 2020 |
I listened to the audiobook and when I finished, I ran to read the ebook as well. This story is creepy and fascinating, its incredible how in just a few pages you can be invested in this woman mind, her life, her obsession.

A great story and definitely something to re-read multiple time to analyze in deep. ( )
  Merlucito | Jul 30, 2020 |
The long and short of it is, "The Yellow Wallpaper" really is an excellent example of how women were treated in the past and how we are still treated in the present. I got into a fight last night with a long time friend who I think has reached the toxic level of friendship for me. Every time we hang out I am always worried about what will I say or do or not say or do that is going to set him off to end up yelling at me. Though of course he does not consider it yelling, because there may be a tone, he doesn't raise his voice. And every time afterwards I am always worried that maybe I was in the wrong and end up apologizing even though I know I am right. It just starts to feel easier to just go along and not say anything. And man oh man, who knew this book would be perfect for when I got home.

The narrator is "resting" after giving birth to her first born child it seems. Her husband, who is also a doctor, is telling her constantly that she needs to rest, that she doesn't need to concern herself with household matters, or even their child. Based on what the narrator writes about her husband, the word condescending asshat is not too harsh.

Reading the narrator's journal through a period of three months we follow her as she finds herself getting more and more obsessed with the yellow wallpaper in the bedroom that she is sleeping in. With barred windows, peeling paper, and the room having an odor only she can smell, she asks to be moved or to at least re-do the room and is once again put off by her husband because he doesn't think that would be good for her and doesn't want to spend the funds to re-do a room when they are only there for three months.

Eventually the wallpaper that she despises ends up being her friend and then she starts to see many hidden women in it looking to get out.

I absolutely loved the ending. I think for me I liked it because not only was she proven right in her assertions about her own body/mind (which is sad that she was being ignored). But I loved the imagery of her and what occurred between her and her husband in the end. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 110 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gilman, Charlotte Perkinsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hedges, Elaine R.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Farrell, MaggieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Potter, KirstenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer.
Quotations
There are things in that paper that nobody knows but me, or ever will.
It is the same woman, I know, for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight.
Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good.
He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction.
The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the short story, including the Feminist Press Reprint No. 3 edition (1973) and Virago Modern Classic No. 50 (1981). Please do NOT combine with any anthology or other collection, but only with other editions confirmed as having the same contents. Thank you.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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 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...

No library descriptions found.

Book description
"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.
A woman and her husband rent a summer house, but what should be a restful getaway turns into a suffocating psychological battle. This chilling account of postpartum depression and a husband’s controlling behavior in the guise of treatment will leave you breathless.
This Inwood Commons Modern Edition updates Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s classic so that it’s as easy to read and as relevant as if it was written today. The book also includes the author’s argument to Congress for women’s voting rights, her reasons for writing The Yellow Wallpaper, two essays from modern scholars, and the original unedited versions in appendices.
Haiku summary
She makes her own friends
to escape her depression.
Fall into madness.
(DeusXMachina)

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