The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
This collection brings together 12 of the finest short stories of prominent American feminist author Charlotte Perkins Gilman. “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Gilman’s best-known work, was first published in 1892 and represents an important examination of 19th-century attitudes toward women’s physical and mental health. Written as a collection of journal entries by a woman whose physician husband has confined her to her bedroom, the story depicts the narrator’s descent into psychosis as her confinement gradually erodes her sanity.
This collection also includes the stories “The Giant Wistaria”, “According to Solomon”, “The Boys and the Butter”, “Her Housekeeper”, “Martha’s Mother”, “A Middle-Sized Artist”, “An Offender”, “When I Was a Witch”, “The Cottagette”, “Making a Living”, and “Mr. Robert Grey Sr.”
My Review: If you follow us on Twitter then you know that Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s birthday was on July 3rd. I thought that if ever there was a time to cover one of my favorite stories by one of my favorite authors this was it.
The Yellow Wallpaper is one of my favorite short stories because Charlotte Perkins Gilman had a gift for subtlety. The Yellow Wallpaper is so terrifying because of her slight of hand. She spends a great deal of time building up what is happening in the house. The main character in this story is slipping into madness and she doesn’t know it. The genus of this story is that we don’t realize it either. Charlotte Perkins Gilman is yelling over here over here while her character is describing her husband’s behavior while the real story is happening right in front of you. It’s genus.
If you’ve never read a Charlotte Perkins Gilman story you can start now and if you’ve read them all you can listen to the great audiobook that I listened to. The audiobook is amazing. It’s only four hours and thirty-nine minutes and they are all short stories. Kirsten Potter narrates all of the stories and is perfect. Sometimes when I listen to a story that I’ve read several times I’m disappointed in the audiobook but this one gave me something. Kirsten Potter brought a lot out of the story that I hadn’t realized was there. That was such a gift.
So when you’re looking for something short to read or listen to this weekend please remember Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s wonderful stories. They are often labeled as chick lit or women’s fiction but they are so much more. They are stories written by a woman who’s talent could never be confined to her own lifetime.
Header image: Flower Drop by Olivotte from freeimages.com