September 23, 2007

Short Story Sunday

The Yellow Wall Paper
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A woman suffering from "temporary nervous depression" is moved into an old, long unoccupied manor house by her physician husband "to get plenty of air." She spends all her days in the top floor nursery that is covered in a horrendous yellow wall paper. Slowly but surely the wall paper drives her insane and the reader comes along for the ride as we read her secret diary.

I was intrigued by Eva's review of this short story two weeks ago. I totally agree with her that it was fascinating and creepy. I loved that a disease that was originally thought to be all in her head becomes more "all in her head" the more her husband insists that she's improving. And the final diary entry is the icing on the cake. Highly recommend!

The Striding Place
by Gertrude Atherton

A man wonders in his woods contemplating the strange disappearance of his closest friend just a few days before. As he comes to a "Strid" in a stream, a narrow passage between precipitous rocks or banks, which looks as if it might be crossed at a stride but is often dangerous, he makes an anxious discovery.

This story is apparently known for it's final sentence. I hadn't heard of it before, nor had I heard of it's author. I found the story a bit disjointed; certainly not the smooth reading that The Yellow Wall Paper was. But the last sentence was what makes it a spooky tale. I was left stunned.


Eva said...

I agree that "The Striding Place" was disjointed plot-wise, but that final sentence is soooo weird. I mean, seriously, what the heck was going on? lol

Thanks for the link love. :) That's a good point about "The Yellow Wall Paper"-that the 'cure' is what makes her so sick. Of course, I was left wondering about the poor children who had lived with the paper at one point. Obviously, someone else had a breakdown in the room; I hope it was an adult!

Petunia said...

Yes, wierd! I had to stop reading, wipe off the confused look on my face, then reread it again before it really even made sense, which it really didn't. Very odd indeed.

With the Wall Papaer, was it the paper that drove her crazy or was it the isolation and the patranizing people in her life(this is my vote). I'd go crazy too.

Nicola said...

The Wall Paper one certainly sounds creepy and now I want to read the other one just so I know what that last sentence is. LOL!

Petunia said...

lol It's a good thing it's a short one huh?

jenclair said...

It always reminded me of The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin (film version is The Joy that Kills).

Eva said...

Hi Sarah! I've tagged you for a meme. Of course, if you're too busy I understand. But here it is if you're interested. :)

Eva said...

Oy, I mean Hi Petunia. I was copying and pasting, and apparently I haven't had enough tea yet. :( Sorry about that.

Petunia said...

Jenclaire-thanks for the recommend. My library has a copy on CD that I reserved.

Eva-lol Or maybe you've had too much tea.

Trish said...

Its been so long since I've read Yellow Wallpaper that I'm having troubles remembering the ending. But, I do remember really liking it!

Petunia said...

I keep thinking about it. I think it's one I need to discuss with someone.