The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 1 Powerful Story

The Yellow Wallpaper was the first book I read by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Herland is next. I have to mention that I am already excited about Herland because The Yellow Wallpaper was a remarkable book.


The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper delightfully depicts how a woman can go crazy in the “sweetest” way. This beautiful story is the most famous story of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, one of the pioneers of feminism, and it is not difficult to understand why. The Yellow Wallpaper, first published in 1892, will be read and inspired by women today and in the future.

I’m sure most people who read the book will think of that story whenever we see yellow wallpaper. It is the first thing that will come to my mind for a while when it comes to insanity. It is an eerie, unsettling and powerful story, and you won’t even understand its power till it’s too late. I feel my blood boiling when I think of women who are banned from reading and writing and who are imprisoned at home; I can’t even think of the torture they are going through.

However, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s other stories have been as effective on me as the Yellow Wallpaper. The author, who deals with topics such as feminism, motherhood, being an individual, being a woman in general, has such a powerful pen that I had to stop and take a break after each story. Her story When I Was a Witch was so interesting and beautiful that I reread it as soon as I finish it. Probably because I identified myself with the character, I never wanted to get out of the story.

The Yellow Wallpaper is one of the stories that all women should read. I would say read it as soon as possible and then watch this film. Enjoy!

The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper: A collection of the groundbreaking feminist writer’s most famous works, with a thought-provoking introduction by bestselling author Kate Bolick

Wonderfully sardonic and slyly humorous, the writings of landmark American feminist and socialist thinker Charlotte Perkins Gilman were penned in response to her frustrations with the gender-based double standard that prevailed in America as the twentieth century began. Perhaps best known for her chilling depiction of a woman’s mental breakdown in her unforgettable 1892 short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman also wrote Herland, a wry novel that imagines a peaceful, progressive country from which men have been absent for 2,000 years. Both are included in The Yellow Wallpaper and Selected Writings, along with a selection of Gilman’s major short stories and her poems. New York Times bestselling author Kate Bolick contributes an illuminating introduction that explores Gilman’s fascinating yet complicated life.

Penguin Classics launches a new hardcover series with five American classics that are relevant and timeless in their power, and part of a dynamic and diverse landscape of classic fiction and nonfiction from almost seventy-five years of classics publishing. Penguin Vitae provides readers with beautifully designed classics that have shaped the course of their lives, and welcomes new readers to discover these literary gifts of personal inspiration, intellectual engagement, and creative originality. The Yellow Wallpaper is one of them.

The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, in full Charlotte Anna Perkins Stetson Gilman, née Charlotte Anna Perkins, also called Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman, (born July 3, 1860, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.—died August 17, 1935, Pasadena, California), American feminist, lecturer, writer, and publisher who was a leading theorist of the women’s movement in the United States.

Charlotte Perkins grew up in poverty, her father having essentially abandoned the family. Her education was irregular and limited, but she did attend the Rhode Island School of Design for a time. In May 1884 she married Charles W. Stetson, an artist. She soon proved to be totally unsuited to the domestic routine of marriage, and after a year or so she was suffering from melancholia, which eventuated in complete nervous collapse.

A California trip in 1885 was helpful, however, and in 1888 she moved with her young daughter to Pasadena. She divorced her husband in 1894, and, after his remarriage shortly thereafter to one of her close friends, she sent her daughter to live with them. The entire affair was the subject of scandalized public comment.

After her move to California, Perkins began writing poems and stories for various periodicals. Among her stories, “The Yellow Wall-Paper,” published in The New England Magazine in January 1892, was exceptional for its starkly realistic first-person portrayal of the mental breakdown of a physically pampered but emotionally starved young wife. In 1893 she published In This Our World, a volume of verse. For a time in 1894, after her move to San Francisco, she edited with Helen Campbell the Impress, an organ of the Pacific Coast Woman’s Press Association.

She also became a noted lecturer during the early 1890s on such social topics as labour, ethics, and the place of women, and, after a short period of residence at Jane Addams’s Hull House in Chicago in 1895, she spent the next five years in national lecture tours. In 1896 she was a delegate to the International Socialist and Labor Congress in London, where she met George Bernard Shaw, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, and other leading socialists.

In 1898 Perkins published Women and Economics, a manifesto that attracted great attention and was translated into seven languages. In a radical call for economic independence for women, she dissected with keen intelligence much of the romanticized convention surrounding contemporary ideas of womanhood and motherhood. Her notions of redefining domestic and child-care chores as social responsibilities to be centralized in the hands of those particularly suited and trained for them reflected her earlier interest in Nationalist clubs, based on the ideas of the American writer Edward Bellamy, an influential advocate for the nationalization of public services.

Perkins expanded on such ideas in Concerning Children (1900) and The Home (1903). In June 1900 she married a cousin, George H. Gilman, with whom she lived in New York City until 1922. Human Work (1904) continued the arguments of Women and Economics. Later books included What Diantha Did (1910); The Man-Made World (1911), in which she distinguished the characteristic virtues and vices of men and women and attributed the ills of the world to the dominance of men; The Crux (1911); Moving the Mountain (1911); His Religion and Hers (1923); and The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: An Autobiography (1935).

From 1909 to 1916 she edited and published the monthly Forerunner, a magazine of feminist articles and fiction. She also contributed to other periodicals. She joined Jane Addams in founding the Woman’s Peace Party in 1915, but she was little involved in other organized movements of the day. After treatments for the cancer that afflicted her proved ineffective, she took her own life. The Yellow Wallpaper is her most popular work.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Reading Challenge 2021

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