Yellow Wallpaper PDF

What is The Yellow Wallpaper?

“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a short story by American author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, first published in 1892. It is a haunting and powerful tale of a woman’s descent into madness as she struggles to deal with her postpartum depression and the oppressive societal norms of the time. The story is narrated by the protagonist, an unnamed woman who is confined to a room with yellow wallpaper by her doctor husband. As she becomes increasingly obsessed with the patterns in the wallpaper, she begins to see a woman trapped inside and becomes convinced that she too is trapped. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is widely regarded as a classic of feminist literature and a commentary on the treatment of women in the 19th century.

This story is widely regarded as a significant work of American literature. It has been included in numerous anthologies and is frequently studied in academic settings, making it a staple of literary curricula. “The Yellow Wallpaper” has garnered a substantial readership and continues to be widely read and discussed. Its themes of gender inequality, mental health, and confinement resonate with readers across different generations. The story’s cultural impact is evident through its adaptations in various forms of media. It has been adapted into plays, and films, and inspired numerous artistic interpretations, reflecting its enduring relevance and ability to captivate audiences.

Background of The Yellow Wallpaper 

If you are writing a literature review about this story, learn more about the background of “The Yellow Wallpaper” in this section:

Personal Experience: Gilman herself experienced postpartum depression and was prescribed the “rest cure,” a common treatment at the time that involved secluding women to rest and restrict their mental and physical activities. This personal experience inspired her to write the story as a critique of the oppressive gender norms and medical practices prevalent in the late 19th century. Author’s Perspective: The story is semi-autobiographical, reflecting Gilman’s own struggles and frustrations. It delves into themes of women’s confinement, the repression of creativity and individuality, and the effects of patriarchal control on women’s mental health. Through a first-person narrative, the protagonist shares her descent into madness as she fixates on the yellow wallpaper in the room where she is confined. Feminism: “The Yellow Wallpaper” is considered a pioneering work of feminist literature and has had a profound impact on subsequent writings about women’s rights and mental health. It continues to be studied and celebrated for its exploration of gender roles, the effects of societal oppression, and the importance of women’s agency and self-expression.

Characters of The Yellow Wallpaper  

“The Yellow Wallpaper” primarily revolves around three main characters. Know more about these characters who play crucial roles in highlighting the power dynamics, gender roles, and the oppressive treatment of women prevalent in the 19th century.

The Protagonist (Unnamed): The story is narrated from the perspective of an unnamed woman. She is a wife and new mother who suffers from postpartum depression. As the story progresses, she becomes increasingly fixated on the yellow wallpaper in the room where she is confined, eventually descending into madness.John (The Husband): John is the protagonist’s husband and a physician. He embodies the patriarchal attitudes and beliefs of the time, dismissing the protagonist’s concerns and prescribing the rest cure for her. Though he has good intentions, his actions contribute to the deterioration of the protagonist’s mental state. Jennie (The Sister-in-Law): Jennie is John’s sister and also serves as a caregiver for the protagonist. She is portrayed as kind and sympathetic, but she also upholds the societal expectations and restrictions placed upon women, inadvertently contributing to the protagonist’s confinement and isolation.

Citation-Worthy Quotes in The Yellow Wallpaper

These selected quotes from “The Yellow Wallpaper” encapsulate the protagonist’s descent into madness, her rebellion against societal constraints, and her fixation on the yellow wallpaper. Each quote provides a glimpse into the story’s themes of confinement, empowerment, and deteriorating mental health.

“There are things in that paper that nobody knows but me, or ever will.”: This quote reflects the protagonist’s growing obsession with the yellow wallpaper. It highlights her belief that she possesses a unique understanding of the wallpaper’s secrets, emphasizing her isolation and descent into madness. “I’ve got out at last, in spite of you and Jane.”: This defiant statement signifies the protagonist’s liberation from the oppressive influence of her husband and sister-in-law. It marks a turning point in the story, as she takes control of her own destiny, even if it means embracing her madness. “I verily believe she thinks it is the writing which made me sick!”: Here, the protagonist questions her husband’s perception of her illness. She recognizes that the restrictive and oppressive environment, rather than her writing, is the root cause of her deteriorating mental state, challenging the patriarchal dismissal of women’s experiences. “Life is very much more exciting now than it used to be.”: This quote showcases the protagonist’s shifting perspective on her confinement. As her mental state worsens, she finds solace in her madness, seeing it as a release from the mundane and restrictive aspects of her life. “I’ve got a rope up here that even Jennie did not find.”: The mention of the rope suggests the protagonist’s contemplation of self-harm or escape. It underscores the desperation she feels in her confined existence and serves as a symbol of her desire to break free from her oppressive surroundings. “I don’t want to go outside. I won’t, even if Jennie asks me to.”: This statement reflects the protagonist’s growing aversion to the outside world. It highlights her retreat into her own delusional reality within the room and her resistance to conforming to societal expectations or demands placed upon her. “I’ve got to free her!”: Here, the protagonist believes she needs to liberate the woman trapped inside the wallpaper. This quote demonstrates her identification with the figure in the wallpaper and her determination to set both of them free from their metaphorical prisons. “I’m sure I never used to be so sensitive. I think it is due to this nervous condition.”: The protagonist attributes her heightened sensitivity to her deteriorating mental state. This quote highlights the self-awareness of her changing emotional and psychological state, drawing attention to the impact of societal repression on her well-being. “I don’t want to leave now until I have found it out.”: This quote reveals the protagonist’s relentless pursuit of understanding the mysteries hidden within the wallpaper. It underscores her fixation and determination to unravel the symbolic meaning and significance behind the wallpaper’s patterns. “I’ve got out at last, in spite of you and Jane! And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!”: This triumphant declaration represents the protagonist’s ultimate liberation from the oppressive forces of her husband and sister-in-law. It symbolizes her reclaiming of agency and refusal to be confined or silenced, even as she succumbs further to her madness.

How to Write a Detailed Analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper

Structure your analysis with a clear introduction, body paragraphs that delve into different aspects, and a conclusion that summarizes your findings. Be sure to provide evidence from the text to support your claims and engage in thoughtful reflection and interpretation throughout your analysis. To write a detailed analysis of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” follow these five steps:

Step 1: Familiarize Yourself

Read the story multiple times, paying attention to its themes, symbolism, and narrative techniques. Take notes on significant events, characters, and recurring motifs.

Step 2: Identify Key Themes

Explore the central themes of the story, such as gender inequality, confinement, mental health, and the role of women in society. Analyze how these themes are portrayed and their significance in the context of the story.

Step 3: Examine Symbolism and Imagery

In each chapter, there are usually several characters who are integral to the story. Examine their behavior, reasons for doing it, and interactions with other characters. Search for connections between their behavior and the chapter’s issues.

Step 4: Discuss Narrative Techniques

Evaluate the narrative techniques employed by Gilman, including the use of first-person narration, stream-of-consciousness, and the unreliable narrator. Examine how these techniques shape the reader’s understanding and interpretation of the story.

Step 5: Provide Critical Insights

Offer your own interpretations and critical insights based on the evidence gathered from the text. Support your analysis with quotes, examples, and references to specific scenes or passages. Consider incorporating scholarly perspectives or other critical sources to strengthen your analysis.


Are there full-text printable versions available for “The Yellow Wallpaper”?

Yes, full-text printable versions of “The Yellow Wallpaper” are readily available. Many websites offer downloadable PDF or DOC files and other books online that allow you to 

Where can I find a PDF of “The Yellow Wallpaper” for citation or analysis?

You can find a PDF of “The Yellow Wallpaper” for an APA citation PDF or analysis on various websites, including academic databases, literary platforms, or online libraries. Some popular sources include Project Gutenberg, Google Scholar, and university library websites.

How can I find analysis or critical essays on “The Yellow Wallpaper”?

To find analysis or sample essays on “The Yellow Wallpaper,” you can consult academic journals, literary magazines, or scholarly databases such as JSTOR or MLA International Bibliography. Additionally, platforms like SparkNotes provide summaries, analysis, and critical insights specific to this story.

What is the summary of “The Yellow Wallpaper”?

“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It follows an unnamed woman’s descent into madness as she grapples with postpartum depression and the oppressive confines of her domestic life. The story explores themes of gender inequality, confinement, and the consequences of societal control.

How does “The Yellow Wallpaper” relate to feminism?

“The Yellow Wallpaper” is considered a seminal work of feminist literature. It critiques the patriarchal attitudes and restrictions imposed on women during the late 19th century. The story highlights the effects of gender roles, the stifling of women’s creativity and autonomy, and the negative consequences of the medical establishment’s dismissal of women’s experiences. It continues to be studied for its powerful portrayal of feminist themes and the importance of women’s voices and agency.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” is considered a seminal work of feminist literature. It critiques the patriarchal attitudes and restrictions imposed on women during the late 19th century. The story highlights the effects of gender roles, the stifling of women’s creativity and autonomy, and the negative consequences of the medical establishment’s dismissal of women’s experiences. It continues to be studied for its powerful portrayal of feminist themes and the importance of women’s voices and agency. To guide you in your literary analysis, provides a diverse collection of PDF samples and other documents that you can easily use when you read, analyze, and summarize books, novels, and stories such as Book of Enoch, Of Mice and Men, and The Scarlet Letter.