The yellow wallpaper

The yellow wallpaper

by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Overview

The story describes a young woman and her well-meaning but toxic husband, who imposes as a rest cure on her, after she suffers "temporary nervous depression" after the birth of their baby. They spend the summer at a colonial mansion, where the narrator is largely confined to an upstairs nursery. The story makes striking use of an unreliable narrator in order to gradually reveal the degree to which her husband has imprisoned her: she describes torn wallpaper, barred windows, metal rings in the walls, a floor "scratched and gouged and splintered," a bed bolted to the floor, and a gate at the top of the stairs, but blames all these on children who must have resided there.

The narrator devotes many journal entries to describing the wallpaper in the room – its "sickly" color, its "yellow" smell, its bizarre and disturbing pattern like "an interminable string of toadstools, budding and sprouting in endless convolutions," its missing patches, and the way it leaves yellow smears on the skin and clothing of anyone who touches it. She describes how the longer one stays in the bedroom, the more the wallpaper appears to mutate, especially in the moonlight. With no stimulus other than the wallpaper, the pattern and designs become increasingly intriguing to the narrator. She soon begins to see a figure in the design and eventually comes to believe that a woman is creeping on all fours behind the pattern. Believing she must free the woman in the wallpaper, the woman begins to strip the remaining paper off the wall.

Wikipedia contributors. "The Yellow Wallpaper." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781663569523
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Press
Publication date: 09/18/2020
Pages: 38
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.08(d)

About the Author

Charlotte Perkins Gilman ( née Perkins; July 3, 1860 – August 17, 1935), also known as Charlotte Perkins Stetson, her first married name, was a prominent American humanist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry and nonfiction, and a lecturer for social reform.

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