Book Reviews · Monday Musings · Reading Challenges

Book Review – The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I studied this book as part of my degree course and longed to come back to it as a collection of stories rather than an essay topic to be critically dissected.

Much has been written about The Yellow Wallpaper in relation to its place in feminist literature but as you are aware my reviews are not indepth critical reviews there are many out there who do that much better than I do. I want to talk about how the stories make me feel as a reader and I have to say I love these.

Each story deals with thought provoking subjects, some are of course by this time a little dated yet the actual emotions behind them are still as relevant today.  While most of us as modern women would not accept our husbands word as law we can see the manipulation in the title story that so many women sadly do still live with on a daily basis in abusive relationships. While the title story perhaps has deeper implications with its exploration of madness the theme that ties the collection together is its consideration of what it means to be female and the expectations that go with it.

In Three Thanksgivings we see the older woman with property whose children both seem to wish to care for her but whose motives are not what they can do for her rather what they could gain from her. In Making a Change the dynamics of the relationship between mother and wife along with expectation placed on the wife.  Again though in some aspects these stories are dated the underlying issues still exist I personally moan to my other halfs mum about how useless he is around the house thanks to her spoiling him.

Although they are certainly viewed from a feminist perspective these stories are more than that, they are questioning human interaction on the whole, how we interact, how we place our own expections on others without stopping to think what we are actually doing.

The whole book can be read in an afternoon but personally I would suggest reading one story at a time and taking a little time to consider its lessons before starting the next.  Thse stories really are thought provoking and deserve the space for those thoughts to be considered.

Star rating 4 out of 5 as I did feel a couple of the stories were less detailed than the title story.

5 thoughts on “Book Review – The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

  1. The “Yellow Wallpaper” is, pretty much, one of my most favorite short stories ever!! It identifies many issues the world is still struggling with today as far as gender roles go and help define where you stand as a feminist.

    Also, I most definitely agree you should take these stories one at a time. There’s a lot in each one and I think you need that extra time to digest the messages found within them.

    Great post Paula!!


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