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The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Yellow Wallpaper is a story written in 1899 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, about a woman that goes to a country home for fresh air to cure her depression.

NON SPOILER SUMMARY

John is a physician, and his wife suffers from temporary nervous depression.  So he takes her to an old home in the country to allow her plenty of rest and fresh air to cure her.  Against her protests, she is confined to her room and not allowed to do any work or anything that could be considered even slightly strenuous.  So she sits, and she sleeps, and she stares all day at the ugly yellow wallpaper in the room.  Eventually, she sees a woman behind the pattern in the wallpaper.  Of course, no one else in the house believes her, and they dismiss her visions to her illness.

MY THOUGHTS

This story was written as journal entries by the woman.  It was simply fascinating to see her mental state deteriorate each day of her confinement.  And who ever thought that wallpaper could be brought to such life?  The elaborate descriptions of the patterns and lines of the yellow wallpaper were as entertaining as the rest of the story!  This story makes me glad to live in the day of modern medicine.

INTERESTING TIDBITS

  • Word Count: 6,136
  • Page Count: 12
  • Published: 1899
  • About the Author: Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote The Yellow Wallpaper after she suffered a severe episode of postpartum depression.  Read more about her at Wikipedia.

WHERE TO FIND THIS STORY

  • The Yellow Wallpaper was first published in 1899 by Small & Maynard, Boston, MA.
  • You can read The Yellow Wallpaper online for free.
  • It was also very interesting to read the author’s own explanation of why she wrote the story.  Read Gilman’s “Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper,” from the October 1913 issue of The Forerunner.  (SPOILER WARNING!)
Cin, the mother of two active boys, enjoys reading and loves to watch movies and review them on her own movie review blog.

3 thoughts to “The Yellow Wallpaper”

  1. Hi Cin, I’d like to say I welcome the different spin you have put on this blog. Some of your stories that you have reviewed have let me see sci-fi in a different light. This story though, I find it hard to call science fiction. It is fiction. I first read this story in my intro to literature course in university. It was painted as solidly fiction, a fiction that dealt with the oppression of women and the repreccusions associated with it. Now you do a solid review, but I just don’t think this blog is the right venue for a story like this. It’s just my opinion and I don’t mean to detract from your other solid reviews on science fiction, but I just feel this one is out of place here.

    Rodney

  2. Rodney,

    Thanks for your comment. Cin and I actually had a discussion about whether or not we should include this story on this blog. We finally decided to give it a try since she felt strongly about it being a great short story which our readers would probably enjoy. You are right that it is not science fiction, but we’ll be more vigilant about the types of stories we review in the future.

    -Rusty

  3. Thanks Rodney, and yes, I agree, this story wasn’t science fiction. It’s interesting to me that many of the stories I read are marketed as science fiction, yet in my opinion are nothing more than mere fiction. The genre of “Alternate History” falls under science fiction.. and several of the stories I have reviewed are of that genre.. but still, it’s hard for me to see it as sci-fi. The Yellow Wallpaper has been reviewed and collected in the science fiction category, that’s where I found it. I made a judgment call to review a great story. I’ll make a better judgment next time, sorry to disappoint! Thank you so much for the feedback!

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