Book Review: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

8217236Title: The Yellow Wallpaper

Author: Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Genre: Classic, Short Stories, Horror

Number of Pages (Kindle edition): 63

Date Published: first published January of 1892

Synopsis (through Goodreads):

First published in 1892, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is written as the secret journal of a woman who, failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country rest cure. Though she longs to write, her husband and doctor forbid it, prescribing instead complete passivity. In the involuntary confinement of her bedroom, the hero creates a reality of her own beyond the hypnotic pattern of the faded yellow wallpaper–a pattern that has come to symbolize her own imprisonment. Narrated with superb psychological and dramatic precision, “The Yellow Wallpaper” stands out not only for the imaginative authenticity with which it depicts one woman’s descent into insanity, but also for the power of its testimony to the importance of freedom and self-empowerment for women.

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 of 5)

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I’ll keep this short and to the point mainly because I have hardly anything to comment into this. This is, after all, in the classics league. I don’t think further personal interpretation is needed. Another factor is that it’s a short piece so I think it’s just fitting to keep my thoughts on it brief.

It felt a little bizarre reading this. Nevertheless, it struck me as something very interesting because I had the chance to take a sneak peak into the descent of a person to senility. It is certainly on the raw side and for some reason, this crept me out.

It is the strangest yellow, that wallpaper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw-not beautiful ones like buttercups but old foul, bad yellow things.

I loved how the yellow wallpaper‘s symbolism in the story, as well. I don’t think there is anything more fitting of a title to this work. It felt a little surreal to read of a woman’s observation of a wallpaper. But that’s the bit about it–when you finally see and appreciate the author’s skill especially on how she used a seemingly irrelevant element in the house to perfectly show the critical turn of circumstances on the main character’s life (Jane is her name, if I’m correct) just makes you slow clap on the brilliance of it all.

There are things in that paper that nobody knows but me, or ever will.

I thought the use of the yellow wallpaper as a main element of the story was very, very clever.

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There’s a discussion question I saw from ThoughtCo that reads: “Could the wallpaper have been any other color? How would a change in color have changed the story?” And my answer to that would be yes, it could have been any other color. It’s not the color of the wallpaper, per se, but rather Jane’s perception of the wallpaper and what is happening around and with it. I think she merely made the yellow wallpaper as a channel of fascination as she began to sink into insanity.

If you have read this, what did you make of the book? I would love to hear what you thought of it!

Buy a copy via Book Depository





*Cover image and Synopsis via Goodreads

*I am a Book Depository affiliate which means I get a teensy bit of commission when you use my link to purchase the books. 🙂




  1. Great post! I love this text. It is so eerie and terrifying. However, for me the most frightening aspect of this gothic text is the fact that the above mentioned ‘rest cure’ was a real thing and was very frequently enforced on women.

    Liked by 2 people

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