The Yellow Wallpaper
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
I think this is the shortest story on the entire list of 1001 Books To Read Before You Die- 6000 words according to Wikipedia. I have no idea how this made it onto the list, except to observe that Gilman is both a woman and American, to qualities that are in relative short supply between Harriet Beacher Stowe and the 20th century. The description emphasizes that it is a decent into madness depicted in the first person, and that it represents some sort of important feminist statement. Honestly, it has probably obtained classic status just because it is so short that any moronic undergraduate can muddle his or her way through it, and because the themes are so obvious that that same moronic undergraduate would be able to grasp "the point" or "points" contained therein.