Readings I’ve Enjoyed – “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper

When I first read “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman a few years ago I thought it was every bit as good as some of Poe’s short stories.  I haven’t changed my mind.  Gilman’s best known short story has been anthologized many times since its publication in 1892, and I suspect that it will be anthologized for a long time to come.

The story concerns a mentally troubled woman whose husband, a doctor, takes here to a house for a summer of rest.  He puts her in a room with bars on the windows, and insists that she do nothing but rest.  She covertly writes a diary of her mental state as it changes from day to day, and she tells us about the strange things she sees in the room’s yellow wallpaper.   As you read this story at the Project Gutenberg website, consider what sort of story you’re reading.  Is it a ghost story, the story of a woman descending into madness, or something else?  After you finish you can find out – in her own words – what Gilman intended the story to represent here.

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