Analytical Report on
Yellow Wallpaper”- By Charlotte Perkins
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
that we have some background to our story I could move onto my core discussion,
which is analyzing the many conflicts it portrays.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
The conflict between her
dependence of John and her fear of him.
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.
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!
on The Yellow Wallpaper (www.classicnote.com)
Short Critical Quotations about "The Yellow Wallpaper"
Why I Wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper"? As it appeared in the October
issue of The Forerunner, 1913.
The Changing Role of Womanhood: From True Woman to New Woman in Charlotte
Perkins Gilman’s "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Deborah Thomas
Theory and Literary Practice". Deborah L Madsen
"A Beginner’s Guide to Critical Reading" (Richard Jacobs)
"Inventing Herself" (Elaine Showalter)
Tragic Triumph: A Look at Individuality in "The Yellow Wallpaper"
Writing: “The Yellow Wallpaper” (http://info-center.ccit.arizona.edu/~writprog/materials/10-09.htm)