The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

This is one of my university reads for my 2nd semester and I only had to read The Yellow Wallpaper which is a short story (in my edition it is only 23 pages). I will be reading the rest of the beautiful collection that I purchased eventually but, for now, I am just going to do a review of this one story.

First of all I’d just like to say that the edition I bought is the Virago Modern Classics edition (published 2009) and I chose this one because of both the cover and this is one of the larger collections of this author’s works so I wanted to get good value for money! The cover is honestly the best of a bad bunch in my opinion as The Yellow Wallpaper has been published in many hideous editions, but this one is less garish than most and it is one of those floppy paperback books that I am growing to like.

Straight away this story was a little odd. The writing style is very straight forward but it is almost as though you are dropped in halfway through the narrative. Everything is then given context as you read on which I thought was a really interesting way of telling the story. Also, it is written almost in diary entries but it is not split up in the usual way, but I won’t explain why because that will spoil it! but all I will say is that it really added to the sense of urgency.

This story brings up so many different themes about mental illness and the suppression of women that I can completely understand why such a short story is studied so often. There is a very creepy and tense atmosphere throughout this story and it slowly builds as the narrative progresses so it makes you want to keep reading. I soon became confused about the women in the wallpaper but I think that there are so many things that could be read into it so I am looking forward to studying this further next semester.

If I was to rate this story on its own, I would give it 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend for everyone to read it as I think everyone would read something different into the story and the symbolism.


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