Top positive review
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Fantastic classic short story
on 15 August 2013
I first read this story whilst at University studying Literature and came across it again as a friend (similarly studying) said that she had been reading it and enjoyed it. It was free on Kindle so I downloaded it to read it again. I'm so glad I did. This is a brilliant study of a woman slowly losing her mind. We first encounter the female lead as a woman who is "ill" in some mysterious way, although her doctor husband doesn't really think there's anything all that much wrong with her (sounds like one of the doctors at my surgery! He must have been employed in the NHS!) Through the story we discover she's just had a baby but doesn't seem to be able to bear the child near her. Next we find that she's living in an attic room which used to be a children's nursery - or did it? The gnawed bed, torn wallpaper, barred windows and "fixtures" like rings to the wall strike the reader as immediately odd. Children's nursery? Gymnasium? Or padded cell for the keeping of the insane? Insanity is the clear theme in the story as the narrator identifies and then identifies too closely with a mysterious woman who appears to be caged behind the bars of the yellow wallpaper of the room.
It's a fabulous story with the woman's progression into insanity clearly charted through the story, and yet it is subtly done. I remember when we studied it at University there was talk of yellow wallpaper being tinted with lead in the late nineteenth century which might have led to the woman's insanity. They also used to colour it with urine too, which smelled as the woman describes in the story - but did not, as far as I know, lead to insanity. Or it could have just been a simple case of post-natal depression. Whatever your interpretation, this is a fabulous story and very easy to read.