Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”

yellow-wallpaper It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer.

A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity but that would be asking too much of fate!

Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it.

Else, why should it be let so cheaply? And why have stood so long untenanted?

John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage.

At the university, one of the short stories that I really liked was Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper". I have often thought that I should reread the story about the lady crawling around in her room trying to sort out what happens to her yellow wallpaper, but still after so many years I have not found the time to do so. One way of browsing through literature, however, is to visit "Book-A-Minute" web page. Here you can find very short versions of many classics; Perkins Gilman’s 6000 word story is shortened to the following dialogue for example:

The Wife:
I think I'm sick. What do you think, my husband and noted physician?
The Husband:
Nah. But stay inside and don't talk to anyone until you're better.
The Wife:
Now I'm insane.

Perhaps this is the way to impress people by telling them about all the books you have read in just a very short time… I think I would stick to the original versions, though, and the complete version of “The Yellow Wallpaper” can be found on this page. If you have not read the story already, I strongly recommend that you find the time to do so in the near future.

Picture from scaryforkids.com

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