The Yellow Wallpaper: Book Review

Book: The Yellow Wallpaper

Author: Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Publication: Penguin Classics

Pages: 64

Price: Rs. 100

Plot: This edition has three short stories written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper, The Rocking- chair and The Old Water. Let’s talk about each story one by one.

The Yellow Wallpaper is about a married woman who has just shifted to a new house with her husband. In this new house, she is forced to do nothing because of her health issues. So she observes the ‘almost revolting; a smouldering unclean’ yellow wallpaper in her room. This story is about madness which a woman faces as she had literally nothing to do.

The second story is ‘The Rocking Chair’. This story is about two young men who take up rooms on rent in a house. But this house is strange as they constantly see a golden-haired girl. They both saw glimpses of her, now and then and they both get attracted towards her. Jealousy starts to thrive between them when they see each other having constant communication with the girl. The story is a haunting and with a shocking end.

The yellow wallpaper
The Penguin Little Black Classics, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The third and the last story of this edition is ‘The Old Water’ this story is about a poet who is attracted towards a young girl Ellen. While Mr Pendexter, the poet is always lost in his imagination, Ellen is quite practical, he is far too unrealistic to be taken seriously for her. Ellen has no feelings for him, and rejection is difficult to digest for Mr Pendexter. And the ending is I would just say hilarious one.

All three stories have a different aspect to them, the first is one unnerving and creepy, the second one is shocking and the third one is hilarious. And now that I have talked a little bit about the plots let’s talk about my views of these stories.

My Views: If you would ask me which one is my favourite I would say its ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ the story is a deep and unnerving one. The ending is so creepy and sad at the same time. The author has portrayed the state of the protagonist’s state of mind so intricately. You will find the yellow wallpaper as annoying as she does, and yet as engrossing as she finds it. It can be that you might not understand the ending at first, but when you will understand, you will find out that how disturbing it is.

My second favourite is ‘The Old Water’ this one is hilarious, I loved how bold and outspoken Ellen is. So clear about her feelings and views, and so clever to protect herself from any rage and harm. I won’t say much about this story as I definitely don’t want to give the spoilers.

The third one and my least favourite is ‘The Rocking-chair’, this story is a haunted one, and the ending is really shocking. But what I find lacking in this is I could not feel the depth of emotions. ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ has deep and engrossing emotions, while ‘The Old Water’ has rage and humour to it at the same time, but I did not find this story as engaging as others.

Overall I would say I that the common factor among these stories is that they all are disturbing one in their own way, the emotions, madness, jealousy, rage all are depicted in a deranged manner.

Recommendations: Read this book if you want to get acquainted with insane and demented characters. 😀 😉

Jokes apart, if you love short stories and would love to read three totally different stories, that too stories of madness in one edition, then this book is perfect.

Ratings: 3.5/5


Tangled Tourista
Tangled Tourista is an online diary, which is about travel, food and books. Here you will read about book reviews and suggestions, tested travelling tips and about new cafes and restaurants around and their reviews.

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