The Analytical Report on

“The Yellow Wallpaper”- By Charlotte Perkins


Hello class, I am the only most ostentatious person in the world, Nutta Al-Faris, but you knew that already, no doubt it. Now what I wanted to talk to you today about is this amazing story called “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins. I am oriented to talking about the conflicts of the story in specific, yet I will also mention the certain aspects of the story, like characters or plot, in brief.




Let’s start with the author though. Charlotte Anne Perkins was born on 1860 in Hartford, Connecticut. While growing up she had to take care of herself, she worked as a governess, an art teacher and a designer for greeting cards. After she got married though, to an artist called Charles Stetson she underwent many periods of depression. Then her husband made her go to St Weir Mitchell who told her (just like you’re going to see in the story) that she is not allowed to do any physical work whatsoever and have but 2 hours of intellectual life a day. After 3 months, Charlotte Perkins Gilman nearly went insane, but that experience was the motivation for “The Yellow Wallpaper.” She then divorced Stetson and married George Houghton Gilman and her career skyrocketed. She wrote many nonfiction works and died in 1935




Let’s move onto characters now. This story revolves around a woman, who is left nameless. She is the protagonist in this story, but she undergoes a state of nervousness. She has a husband called John who’s a physician and only believes in rationality. He doesn’t even believe that she is ill. Let’s be frank though, he really loves her, yet he treats her as a child. Her brother, who is left nameless as well, is exactly like her husband: a physician who believes that everything has to be exemplified with numbers and figures. The protagonist has a baby who she cannot spend time with and therefore someone called Mary does that. The other character is Jennie who is the sister, and she loves the protagonist and cares about her so she starts taking care of her. Then there’s the protagonists mother, Nellie and the children and also cousin Henry and Julia who are supposed to be catalysts to aid the protagonist in getting better.

Hot stuff no?




The setting is a somewhat important segment in this story. See there are 2 settings. The first is the big colonial mansion that looks somewhat haunted, despite the fact that it is in the countryside and has a most delicious garden! And the other is what used to be the nursery room with the grotesque wallpaper. In my humble opinion I think both of them played a very big part in letting the protagonist’s health deteriorate some more. 


Point of view


Now on to point of view! See the thing that attracts me most in this fiction is that the story is told from the mad person’s point of view. The narrator is a 1st person participant and is actually dynamic. Because even though the protagonist’s health decline so much in the end of the story, she stops becoming the weak, easily ordered around person she was at the beginning. So there is a certain change is personality and characteristics.




As for now, we have reached the coolest part of the story. Non other than the plot! Let’s see, where shall we start, Ok, here it goes.


The main character, which is a woman who suffers deep depression, was ordered by her husband to take a rest. That’s why they bought a secluded eerie looking mansion in the countryside, a form of shielding her from the world. Her husband though is a Physician called John, and though he loves her a great deal he disregards the fact that she is actually ill. The protagonist has a son whom she is not allowed to spend time with because it might hurt her health so someone else called Mary does that. The protagonist’s starts taking pills to make her get better but she still believes that if they let her work normally, that that would make a better result. And since they disagree she starts writing in the shadows. In other words, in hiding.


She then finds a room that sort of creeps her out even more than the house generally does. Because in this room is the most ugliest wallpaper ever. She starts developing a fancy to this wallpaper by looking at it and imagining it moving. This fancy though, later evolves into an obsession and she starts seeing a woman trapped in it. She believes that the woman inside the wallpaper is watching her, and so asks her husband if they could repair the house. Her husband doesn’t want the wallpaper getting the best of her so he declines. Then she schemes up a way to get the woman out, she locks the door and throws the key out the window, and starts ripping at the wallpaper, first with her hands then with her teeth. Her husband eventually gets into the room and faints when he sees her in this state. 




Now that we have some background to our story I could move onto my core discussion, which is analyzing the many conflicts it portrays.


1-    The protagonist’s individuality against the society. Her brother and husband were controlling her life for her. They even gave her a schedule that was to be followed each hour of the day. We can gather this out by reading “John takes care of me” (155). We can also say that this conflict is true because all her ideas and thoughts mean nothing to anyone, since they all inject their own interpretation to the matter, never caring that what she says might actually have some significance. So this story can portray the struggle of the individual in trying to prove himself to the society.

2-    Conflict between women in general and male repression. We mentioned earlier that the people that were controlling her life were her brother and husband—which are both male characters. Also, on top of that, we can come up with this sort of conflict because in the end, when the protagonist gets her way with the wallpaper she yells “I’ve got out at last,” “in spite of you and Jane” (266.) My analysis to this line is that “Jane” the person she got out in spite of, is actually “Jane Austin.” In the beginning of the story, the protagonists describes the house that she was living in, she mentions how it could pass for an English house. Now that sort of setting is the kind of thing Jane Austin would write about. And in Jane Austin’s books, the female character is always repressed. So when the protagonist, yelled that she got out in spite of Jane; it was as a sign of hope for women everywhere where she is saying that one day would come where they would be equalized to men.

3-    The woman in the wallpaper versus the woman outside.  This is one of the more obvious conflicts. The protagonist starts out as a weak-willed person that everyone controlled, but she was however alert with her surroundings. As her obsession with the wallpaper grew though, and her state of mind worsens, she becomes a strong-willed person that is not alert with her surroundings; on the contrary, the range of her thoughts is only her mind. In other words, this conflict was the struggle between the controlled attentive normal person, and the commanding yet unconscious, crazy one.

4-    The wallpaper in opposition to the woman’s personality. When the wallpaper is first introduced in the book, it was shown immediately that it was important by the great amount of detail that was embedded around it. Now, it is an opposition to the protagonist’s personality because the way it was described showed how ugly, disgusting and repulsive it was. She said "I never saw a worse paper in my life,"(l56) and also "One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin"(156). The protagonist on the other hand was always portrayed as loyal to her family, obedient to her husband, and lovable on the whole. This conflict works around how the characteristics of the awful wallpaper force itself onto the sweet protagonist gradually, wining in the end because it was mentioned that she was tugging at the wallpaper with her hands then teeth!

5-     The wallpaper in similarity to the woman’s personality. Strange, but this could be understood from the conflict’s point of view as well. Basically because the wallpaper starts out to having a certain characteristic that is so close to the protagonist’s. "lame uncertain curves" that "suddenly commit suicide--plunge off at outrageous angles, destroying themselves in unheard of contradictions"(156). This is very similar to the protagonist’s life pattern. She was a weak willed person that always gave into her husbands assertions consequently “committing suicide.” Her confidence is ruined as she always dependant on her husband to allow something, and therefore her confidence “plunges off at outrageous angles.” So the conflict here is not the wallpaper’s characteristic in enmity with the protagonist, and wanting to force it’s trait on the protagonist-- quite the opposite, since the wallpaper has a hidden similarity and the conflict is how the protagonist discovers this, then gets it.

6-   The conflict between her dependence of John and her fear of him.  The protagonist is very dependant on John because she mentions his name constantly. He also, coddles and pampers her, by calling her “darling” and gathering her up in his arms. She knows he loves and cares about her deeply “He is very careful and loving,” (29) but she also fears him. This can be exemplified by reading this line "would cry at nothing, and cry most of the time. Of course I don’t when John is here". (90) She always listens to what he says and when she decides to write despite of him she tries to hide it. She even stopped talking about the wallpaper not to displease him. Even in the end when she locked the room to be alone with the wall paper and threw the key away, when he was pounding hard on the door, she decided to tell him where the key was instead of letting him break the door down.




I hope y’all aren’t bored out of your heads and have enjoyed my presentation, in such a way that got you interested in the story and want to go back home and read it. That’s the Nutta, signing out!





ClassicNote on The Yellow Wallpaper (


from Short Critical Quotations about "The Yellow Wallpaper"


from Why I Wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper"? As it appeared in the October issue of The Forerunner, 1913.


from The Changing Role of Womanhood: From True Woman to New Woman in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Deborah Thomas




"Feminist Theory and Literary Practice". Deborah L Madsen


from "A Beginner’s Guide to Critical Reading" (Richard Jacobs)


from "Inventing Herself" (Elaine Showalter)


A Tragic Triumph: A Look at Individuality in "The Yellow Wallpaper"


Collaborative Writing:  “The Yellow Wallpaper”  (