Posted in Short Stories

Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Yellow Wallpaper

Deal Me In 2020 – Week 49

I think the only problem with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story “The Yellow Wallpaper” is that I waited too long to read it – and of course that’s not really a problem with the story. I’ve read so much about it and have seen it included in so many anthologies that nothing seemed a surprise when I finally read it. At the same time, I understand why it’s included in so many anthologies and why so much has been written about it.

If I had to pick out something about it that stood out it would be that I didn’t realize how “central” the yellow wallpaper would be and how brilliant the descriptions were. I know – that’s the title of the story so what should I have expected? But take this description for example:

It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough constantly to 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.

Yikes! That’s the wallpaper she’s talking about.

This is the penultimate story for me in The Oxford Book of American Short Stories edited by Joyce Carol Oates. I read it when I selected the Six of Spades for Week 49 of my Deal Me In 2020 short story project. Check out my Deal Me In 2020 list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis. I’ll be reading the story that finishes this anthology next week. It will be my first H. P. Lovecraft story and I can’t wait!

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