Sunday, December 21, 2008

"The Yellow Wallpaper"

I just mentioned this story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in my previous entry, and had to find it and read it again.

If you've never read the story, try to find it in a collection, because it is one of the freakiest and creepiest stories you'll ever read. And I do mean creepy (if you read or have read the story, you'll know what I'm talking about). I first read it when I was in high school, in an anthology of short stories...if I recall, it was an old book, and I wish I still had it. The pages were rather yellow, which was fitting.

The woman in the story is suffering from a "nervous condition," and she and her physician husband lease a country estate for a period of time, in an effort to give her a little rest and ease her stress. She and her husband stay in the large upstairs bedroom:

It is a big, airy room, the whole floor nearly, with windows that looks all ways, and air and sunshine galore. It was nursery first and then playroom and gymnasium, I should judge; for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls...

I never saw a worse paper in my life...

It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide--plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.

The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.

It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others.

No wonder the children hated it! I should hate it myself if I had to live in this room long...

There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.

WOW, I'd forgotten how awesome this story is, and how much I loved it. Who knew that a writer could make wallpaper so freakin' creepy?!


  1. You were certainly absorbed for a short time :o)

  2. Thanks for reminding me of how fabulous a read this story is.

  3. Sounds too scary for me!

    Hugs, Rose

  4. I cannot read creepy things like that any more...Give me the light and fun with happy endings and I'm happy. 'On Ya'-ma

  5. i've never heard of this story. Glad you enjoyed it. XO

  6. Sounds like some interesting reads. I'll look for it, just hoping it's not too creepy. I'm glad my wall are painted. Take care and Merry Christmas to you and yours,

  7. Supposedly, Oscar Wilde, dying in a cheap Paris hotel in 1901, said: "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do."

  8. Reminds me of the wallpaper in my old house. Funny how we see patterns that weren't meant to be there! LOL
    Have a Merry Christmas!
    Phyllis in SC

  9. You've sold me, I'm going to look for it.

  10. I know the story! Had to teach it to students who "didn't get it". Powerful writing! Loved it!

  11. I've never heard of the story, but now it's getting added to a list of things yet to read. Which doesn't look like it's getting there any time soon with 3 shelves full of books I have yet to make my way through. The past few months I've been buying books like crazy, storing them up for the days after the holidays, when I can relax and sigh that things are almost back to normalcy. (Hugs)Indigo


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