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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Short Story
As a short story alone this work is outstanding. Stylistically it is sparse and chilling, and as a psychological tale the horror of the detail is left to the reader. That is not to say this is a horror tale as one would normally expect, but a powerful evocation of how women were often mistreated and degraded by Victorian culture. It chronicles the tale of a...
Published on 22 Sep 2005 by susan_1982

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Acquire this excellent story, just get a different edition.
The work itself is wonderful. Reading like a cross between Poe and du Maurier, I would recommend it to anyone with a taste in gothic literature. However, this edition sucks. There's some formatting issues that really ruin your immersion in the tale. I did feel that the price was fair considering the length of the text, but I regret not spending a couple of quid more on an...
Published on 8 Dec 2011 by Amazon Customer


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Short Story, 22 Sep 2005
This review is from: The Yellow Wall-Paper (Paperback)
As a short story alone this work is outstanding. Stylistically it is sparse and chilling, and as a psychological tale the horror of the detail is left to the reader. That is not to say this is a horror tale as one would normally expect, but a powerful evocation of how women were often mistreated and degraded by Victorian culture. It chronicles the tale of a free-thinking and self-willed woman who is forced to take the infamous rest-cure to prevent her from stretching beyond the limited boundaries set for middle-class housewives in the nineteenth century. Enforced rest with little entertainment or stimulus is really a form of incarceration with damaging psychological effects. These effects are recorded through the shapes and figures that manifest through the ghastly yellow wallpaper, which is intended to beautify the room but actually represents prison bars in a different form. Powerful, short and effective, this is an excellent short story - and worth reading alongside The Awakening as two standard texts for feminist analysis of this particular era.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of feminist fiction and a chilling horror tale, 1 May 2006
By 
BookAddictUK "BookAddictUK" (London) - See all my reviews
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Charlotte Perkins Gilman provides a stunning and disturbing account of a woman's decline in madness. Margaret Atwood comments in the Blind Assassin that life is little more than a period of waiting interspersed with a few significant moments. For the nameless women in The Yellow Wallpaper, this is one of those moments. Over a three month period we see in acute and distressingly real detail how her inability to match her identity with the role of submissive wife that late Victorian society demanded leads to a steady, inexorable descent from sagacity to despair. Suffering from some unnamed illness - which modern readers might relate to post-natal depression, she is confined to a room for rest and sleep. Unable to find any outlet for emotion or intellect, she becomes obsessed with the room's wallpaper - its complex and endless pattern of pointless swirls. At first she just dislikes it, then hatred bordering on fear follows, to be usurped by a semi-dependent fascination and ultimately total identity: she becomes, not so much the wallpaper, but the embodiment of the creeping women who dwell, reluctantly, behind the pattern.

It is a picture of personal despair, of desperate attempts to retain sanity and ultimately of failure. On one level it's a chilling horror tale reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe. On another it is a clinically precise picture of a mental aberration. But it is more than that. A powerful indictment of the institution of marriage, of the social mores and misguided kindliness of late Victorian middle-class America, and of the treatment of women, Gilman's story is as timeless as it is authentic.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a quirky, stirring story with a great afterword, 19 Dec 2004
By 
M. L. York "Grammarian" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Firstly, to the story itself. The narrative voice is a repressed woman of the late 19th century, locked in a room with horrid yellow wallpaper, expected by her husband to recover from a mysterious sickness. The more time she spends in this prison, desperate to write, the more disturbed she becomes, until she begins to see a woman crawling within the wallpaper. This is both a study of psychology and a look into the position of women of the period.
The style of the story is wonderfully haunting. The narrative is sparse and exclamatory. This publication has printed the lettering large so that the paragaphs are fairly spread out. The result is that the story appears like a long poem. It is easily read in half an hour or so.
I was very grateful for the very informative Afterword, which is actually longer than the story. It offers a background of the author and links her to other similar authors, as well as explaining the situation of the woman in the story. Without the Afterword, I think I would have been left chilled, but uninformed.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, inspirational!, 31 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Yellow Wall-Paper (Paperback)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, an American short story author, writes "The Yellow Wallpaper." In this literary work Gilman illustrates the unfortunate injustices women are forced to accept. Gilman portrays a woman who needs to escape societies pressures, yet seeking her true identity she finds only insanity. This is a sad story that outlines the repression of the women in the late 1800's due to male supremacy. Furthermore, Gilman expresses these three over arching themes: gender, struggle for identity, and survival. These three issues question the position and role of women in a male dominated society. For many years Gilman suffered from a severe and continuous nervous breakdown tending to Melancholia. In stir of hope she sought the best specialist in nervous disease, Dr. S. Weir Mitchell. He applied a "rest cure" treatment at once; this treatment involves total bed rest, isolation and confinement. Unfortunately his directions of bed rest, two hours of intellectual life a day and not touching a pen again, led Gilman to the border line of total mental breakdown. Using her remnants of intelligence she discontinued this treatment. She was so inspired by her escape and regained enough power to write "The Yellow Wallpaper." This piece was not only controversial, but helped stop other women from being driven to insanity themselves. The narrator in the story is also diagnosed as having a temporary nervous depression, which is later know as postpartum depression--a depression caused by a hormonal imbalance after giving birth. The narrator's husband, John, prescribes the same "rest cure" treatment Gilman was subjected to. Obviously the narrator loves her husband and trusts him but she too has some underlying feeling that maybe his prescription of total bed rest is not working for her. Gender segregation is completely outlined within this short story. The men, seen through the eyes of the narrator, are capable and stable. For example the narrator writes, "John is practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures." Here she is clearly portraying the male chauvinism and unreasoning within this male character. Her husband's role also plays a big part in her spiritual suicide. Although she may disagree with John and her brother she still states, "But what is one to do" (726). This clearly portrays that women, although they held an opinion, must learn to keep it to themselves. Even though, John had his wife placed in a big airy room the room did not help her much. Instead the yellow wallpapered room subjected her to total loneliness and tormented her with this distinct odor and a hideous view. While the men are perceived one way the women are perceived as the weak sex, that depend on men for strength. For example Mary, her sister-in-law, is the expected ideal woman of the 1800's. For instance, she writes, "She is a perfect and enthusiastic housekeeper, and hopes for no better profession" (729). So one can see how women are displayed in the Victorian period. The narrator is also treated like a child or as having the same mentality of a child. For example John say's, "What is it, little girl...Don't go walking about like that you'll get cold" (732). It is clear throughout the short story that women are looked upon as illiterate children, not adults. The men clearly think women are to irrational to make dissuasions of their own, which means they are not even close to being at the same level as men. A common misrepresentation at that time. The second theme portrayed is search for identity. This is when the narrator starts to question her position in a male dominated world. Although she has yet to figure it out she knows there is a hidden motive in the wallpaper that may be a link to her true identity. For example; the narrator, with absolutely nothing else to do, is reduced to staring endlessly at a pattern in a wallpaper, thus creating some image that she feels is necessary to find out. The narrator says, "I didn't realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a woman" (733). Once the narrator determines that the image is in fact a woman struggling to become free, she some how aligns herself with the woman. She continues to persue this project of getting the woman out. This woman becomes her sanity and that's the only one thing in her life she can control. The narrator soon develops this burst of curiosity, because the wallpaper becomes even more and more mysterious. She tells how the women tries to get through, but the pattern seems to strangle her and hold her back (735). The narrator finds herself reflected in this picture. It is as though she's letting herself know that she is not the only one trapped in a dominating world. She begins to tear off the layers of the wallpaper in order to help the women escape, just as she too would love to escape. Throughout the short story the narrator slowly starts to fit parts of her controlled life together and form a voice of her own. The third theme, survival, shows the narrator reaching out and setting an end to this miserable repeating female reformatory. She now realizes her place in this society and decides she to wants to escape. But although she's ready to move on, she is still to terrified to let go of reality altogether. For example she writes, "But here I can creep smoothly on the floor, and my shoulder just fits in that long smooch around the wall, so I cannot lose my way" (737). And although she is scared she still finds enough strength to begin her new freedom. She exemplifies this by saying, "And then I said it again, several times, very gently and slowly, and said it so often that he had to go and see, and he got it of course, and came in" (737). Although she had to repeat herself, John had no choice but to listen to her. And even when he fainted she continued to go over him in her circle, but never did she once stop for him. She even went on to say, "I've got out at last...in spite of you and Jane...And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back in" (737). Ironically it took insanity for a woman to finally gain courage and learn how to survive off of it. John laying on the floor symbolizes male dominance; and the narrator going over her husband symbolizes female's overcoming this male prevalence. Without a doubt, Charlotte Perkins Gilman makes it hard for the reader not to not understand the "young wife" passing from a slight mental unbalancement to a deranged lunacy in "The Yellow Wallpaper." She supports her aggression thoroughly by the conclusion of the narrators search for the truth and the discovery that the injustice is reality. To begin, gender is portrayed through the eyes of the narrator. She sets a role most women can relate with, a need to escape from a male dominated world. Secondly, through a search for identity, the narrator is able to depict the clues that significantly relate to the narrators role's in society and justify them to her standards. Lastly, survival helps the narrator depict the difference between realism and fallacy and learn how to survive off of this new knowledge. Gilman literally acknowledged a bias many women were to intimidated to approach. This short story clearly confronted the sexual politics of the male-female, husband-wife relationship. Although it raised controversy it did help change the woman-man relationship there after.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Acquire this excellent story, just get a different edition., 8 Dec 2011
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The work itself is wonderful. Reading like a cross between Poe and du Maurier, I would recommend it to anyone with a taste in gothic literature. However, this edition sucks. There's some formatting issues that really ruin your immersion in the tale. I did feel that the price was fair considering the length of the text, but I regret not spending a couple of quid more on an edition that presumably would have been proofread before publishing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, 10 Dec 2008
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a feminist classic which was forgotten and then had a rediscovery and resurgence in the last ten years. It is a short story/novella about a young woman whose husband and doctor prescribe a rest cure for a vaguely described nervous disorder.

She is incarcerated in a bedroom where she is instructed to stay in bed and do nothing. The strain begins to get to her and she slowly starts to see figures appearing from behind the appalling pattern on the yellow wallpaper in the room.

This is in much the same vein as Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. It is a slow ratcheting of tension and horror as the reader is forced to endure a vision of a woman being driven mad by her circumstances.

I understand why this is such a lauded book. I cannot say however that it is an enjoyable book. It is well written, a masterpiece of its time, particularly in the way it captures the ambience and feeling of the poor woman descending into insanity, but not a read for a day when you're feeling a bit miserable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit boring and weird, 6 Jun 2012
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Not one that I would choose to read normally but my step daughter recommended it. It was OK but a bit boring too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars chilling fable, 23 Jun 2008
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This is a spine-tingling (not necessarily in a good way!) long short story with hauntingly gothic imagery that shifts and stirs beneath a prosaic surface.

The female protagonist is confined to her room as a 'rest cure' which might be associated with what we now recognise as post-natal depression, but the enforced 'rest' that is more akin to imprisonment releases something in her psyche that might be madness...

The yellow wallpaper of the title is both a kind of fairy-tale mirror and a window to another world that allows the narrator to see the female figures caught beneath it and living out their lives beneath its shadows, an incredibly haunting and indicting imagery for Victorian England.

This is only short (more a long short story than a novella) but it will stay with you for all that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars loved it, 11 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Yellow Wallpaper (Paperback)
very interesting view of feminism at its height... nice little twist at the end where the transition from sane to insane. I wont spoil the story for you, just read it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars .?????, 31 May 2013
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J. Lincoln (North east england) - See all my reviews
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Weird but good but also a bit disturbing. Not sure i really got it but did keep my attention. Can't really make my mind up if i liked it. Might need to read it again. Not a very helpful review but still a bit confused by it all
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The Yellow Wallpaper
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Paperback - 27 April 2011)
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