Book Review : The Yellow Wallpaper
By Charlotte Perkins Stetson
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. (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
The road to insanity is devious. The Yellow Wallpaper was a fascinating read, especially since the author had experienced depression, and had received a doctor’s advice to avoid all activity, much like the protagonist, Jane, in her story. This is a must read if you are interested in Gothic Horror.
I enjoyed how a subtle word change showed Jane’s thought process. Her situation deteriorates from abhorring the wallpaper, to exploring it and finally being trapped within it’s prison. Her fascination with the wallpaper is part of her fear. She sees more than others will ever know within that prison. The last moment as this tortured soul circles around the room rubbing the wallpaper where it appears, yet another person had gone before, shows that she is not alone. The mind is a powerful thing.
The writing is beautiful! One of the things I truly miss in most modern writing is the lack of substance in sentences. I want to hear a description that sings with images, and I want to taste the words before they are swallowed.
Here are a couple of quotes (I don’t have page numbers since I read it on my Kindle)
It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw—not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things.
There are things in that paper which nobody knows but me, or ever will.
Behind that outside pattern the dim shapes get clearer every day. It is always the same shape, only very numerous.
And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. I don’t like it a bit. I wonder—I begin to think—I wish John would take me away from here!
It’s fun to do a search on artists’ impression of the yellow wallpaper that would drive a depressed woman mad.
Here is a link to one artist’s thoughts http://lucydillamore.com/projects/yellow-wallpaper/
3.75 out of 5 stars
- the Mother
If you liked this one try Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.