Daily Archives for: May 3rd, 2017

The Giant Wistaria by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Full Text

Charlotte Perkins Gilman‘s short story The Giant Wistaria (1891) is less known than her story The Yellow Wallpaper,  a feminist classic. “Wistaria” has in common with “Wallpaper” the underlying themes of patriarchal repression of women’s sexuality and control of the realm of motherhood. What results is a chilling ghost story.

Here is the full text of The Giant Wistaria, written in 1891 under the name she was going by, Charlotte P. Stetson, just a year prior to the publication of The Yellow Wallpaper.  

In  analysis of The Giant Wistaria from Feminist Short Stories: Horror & Sci-Fi (Part 1), Jillian McKeown writes:

It’s shocking once you’ve finished “The Giant Wistaria” to realize that it was published in 1891, when it seems as if it were written not so long ago.

The story takes place during two time periods, the 1700s and the 1800s. The former century begins with an English family and we’re dropped into the middle of the most scandalous of family dramas — their daughter has just given birth out of wedlock, and the parents are fleeing to England to escape any disgrace to their family name.

Fast toward to the late 1800s; the house from whence they fled is now decrepit and has been virtually swallowed by a gigantic wistaria vine.  A wealthy young couple and their friends happen by, completely enchanted by what they interpret as rustic charm, they assume that it must be haunted and rent it immediately. 

As the three couples drink, eat and laugh, they describe the prospect of an eventful summer chock-full of ghosts that hopefully inhabit the house. Read More→

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