"The Yellow Wallpaper" is a 6,000-word short story, which was first published in January 1892 in The New England Magazine. It is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature. It shows the attitudes toward women's physical and mental health in the 19th century. Presented in the first-person perspective, the story is a collection of journal entries written by a Jane ...
"The Yellow Wallpaper" is a 6,000-word short story, which was first published in January 1892 in The New England Magazine. It is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature. It shows the attitudes toward women's physical and mental health in the 19th century.
Presented in the first-person perspective, the story is a collection of journal entries written by a Jane whose physician husband, John, has restricted her to the upstairs bedroom of the house he has rented for the summer. She is forbidden to do anything, so she can recover from what he terms a "temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency." (A diagnosis common to women in that period). The windows of the room are barred, and there is a gate securing the top of the stairs, stopping her from roaming the rest of the house. She has to hide her journal from him, in fear he will destroy it.
The story depicts the effect of incarceration on the narrator's mental health and her descent into psychosis (obsession). With nothing to stimulate her mind, she becomes completely obsessed by the pattern and color of the wallpaper. "It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw – not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things. But there is something else about that paper – the smell! ... The only thing I can think of that it is like is the color of the paper! A yellow smell."
As her mental health deteriorates, she starts to imagine there are women crawling around behind the patterns of the wallpaper. She slowly starts to believe she is also one of them. She locks herself in the room, now the only place she feels safe. She refuses to leave when the summer rental is up. "For outside you have to creep on the ground, and everything is green instead of yellow. But here I can creep smoothly on the floor, and my shoulder just fits in that long smooch around the wall, so I cannot lose my way."
Herland is a 53,000-word utopian novel from 1915. It first appeared in Forerunner, a magazine edited and written by Gilman between 1909 and 1916.
The book describes an isolated society made up of just women, who reproduce via parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction). The result is an ideal social order, which is free of war, fighting, conflict, and domination.
The story is told from the perspective of Vandyk "Van" Jennings; a student of sociology who, along with two friends, Terry O. Nicholson and Jeff Margrave, forms a team to explore an area of uncharted land where it is rumored lives a society consisting entirely of women. The three friends do not believe the rumors because they are unable to imagine a way where human reproduction could occur without males. The men speculate about what a society of women would be like, each guessing differently based on their stereotype of women.
There is also a letter from Charlotte Perkins Gilman that originally appeared in the October 1913 issue of The Forerunner, titled: "Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper."
Highlights of this edition are:
• 10 illustrations and photos.
• Free web links to both stories so you can listen to them online.
• It is formatted for ease of use and enjoyment on your Nook reader.
• An active (easy to use) Table of Contents listing every chapter accessible from the Nook menu.
• Perfect formatting in rich text compatible with Nook's Text-to-Speech features.
• Plus About the Author Section.
• 300 pages (in the Nook format) for a very low price.
These two stories (and letter) are unabridged, and appear as they were first intended.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born on July 3, 1860, and died on August 17, 1935. She was a prominent American feminist, sociologist, novelist, writer of poetry, and short stories, and nonfiction, and an avid lecturer for social reform. She was prolific, she wrote one hundred and eighty-six short stories, and hundreds of poems.