Review of THE YELLOW WALLPAPER by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
FACTS ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: The Yellow Wallpaper
Author: Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Publisher: Benison Books
Pages: 35 (just the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper", 64 (whole book edition)
Genre: Feminism, Mental Illness
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?This very short short story is told by a female narrator who is stuck in a room with an awful yellow wallpaper, much like the one you can see on the cover. Throughout this story she analysis and interprets a lot into this wallpaper. Since she feels not well, her husband orders her to rest in this room, which slowly drives her mad.
MY OPINION ON THE BOOK
I was quite surprised by how short this story actually is. In this edition it is only 35 pages long and reads itself even quicker because of the few sentences that are actually placed on one page. You can definitely read through it in about 15 minutes.
I can definitely recommend this edition to you, although I didn't like it at all at first, because of the ugly colour of the cover. This dislike was actually intentional, because the whole story is exactly about the dislike of that colour and therefore also about the dislike of that cover, since that represents the wallpaper.
When I read the title, I didn't actually think that the story would be about an actual yellow wallpaper and was therefore very surprised by how frequent the wallpaper was indeed mentioned in the story. Because of that, I really enjoyed having the yellow wallpaper on the cover and therefore being able to have a look at it every time it was mentioned by the narrator; so I could compare the cover to the wallpaper described in the story.
The "relationship" between the narrator and the yellow wallpaper was the most interesting part of the story for me. I really liked the way in which the narrator managed to inflict such a disgust for that wallpaper in me that I wanted to tear it apart myself. This impulse made me want for the narrator to tear it down herself so badly that I questioned why she felt so restrained in doing it. It made me understand that she also incredibly much wanted to tear it down but felt like she shouldn't or couldn't do so. Reflecting on that had a very powerful impact on me, because it made me see her restrained self better.
I also found it quite fascinating how the issue that the narrator had with the wallpaper seemed to creep in more and more - often throughout the whole book until it completely took over all of the narrator's attention. That portrayed a very conflicting image of the narrator's attitude towards it.
All the minor characters but her husband seemed very unclear to me and I didn't quite understand what role they were supposed to play.
I think it's very fascinating and groundbreaking that a woman wrote this story in the late 19th century.
The ending and the last pages that led up to it were a bit weird. They left a lot open to the imagination and I think as a reader one can fill in a lot of blanks and interpret the story in very different ways.
I really enjoyed the beginning, where I was a bit confused as to what to think of the story, and also the middle, in which the presence of the wallpaper grew more intense and prominent. Unfortunately, the story lost me at the end because I couldn't really understand it anymore and could just guess as to what the ending should mean.
To clear up the meaning of the story a bit more, I can definitely recommend this edition of the book to you, since it provides the reader with more information about the author and draws some parallels between the narrator in the story and the author's actual life; and therefore gives more inside to the story.