Wednesday 8 May 2019

Book Review: The Yellow Wall-Paper; Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

I love the 'Little Black Classics' collection from Penguin for many reasons, but the main one is that I get to experience the work of authors that I never would have done so otherwise and this is a perfect example!

TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: The Yellow Wall-Paper
AUTHOR: Charlotte Perkins Gilman
SERIES: Little Black Classics (#42)
GENRE: Classics, Short Stories, Horror, Ghost Story

RATING: 5/5 Stars

'The colour is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing.'

Written with barely controlled fury after she was confined to her room for 'nerves' and forbidden to write, Gilman's pioneering feminist horror story scandalised nineteenth-century readers with its portrayal of a woman who loses her mind because she has literally nothing to do.

Also contains The Rocking-Chair and Old Water.

What I Liked:

  • I just loved how feminist and forward-thinking these were, especially considering the time period! 'The Yellow Wall-Paper' took a deep-dive into the treatment of women and mental illness during the time period and was a cry of rebellion against the rest-cure methods she was forced to endure during her own depression. 'Old Water' was also a great feminist read - it covered themes such as obsession, consent, and the importance of autonomy and independence for women.
  • The tales were actually pretty spooky too - 'The Yellow Wall-Paper' an epistolary-style look at a mental breakdown and how that can distort a person's view of the world; 'The Rocking-Chair' a proper ghost story with two friends allowing a seductive spectre and jealousy to turn their camaraderie into hatred; 'Old-Water' about an overbearing mother, whose desire to see her obstinate daughter married to a visiting poet allows her to overlook the obsessive, twisted love that the stranger is beginning to develop. Each scary, with a Gothic feel.
What I Disliked:
  • Uhh...that there weren't more stories? Seriously, these were so different and so great, that I'd have liked to see more as they were quite short. But then, that's the idea of the 'Little Black Classics' so I'm not that bothered.
Overall Conclusion:
I can't get over how amazing these were, and I could sit here forever and analyse the intent behind them but all I can say is how glad I am that I picked number forty-two in the collection to read! I wanted some chilling, slightly spooky, insightful stories and that is exactly what I got!

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