The Yellow Wallpaper

Mini EN11
“The Yellow Wallpaper”
Ms. Vadacchino
By: Charlotte Perkins Gilman
You may answer these questions in point form or with notes on the story itself, but you must
provide evidence for all your ideas.
1. Consider the setting of the story, including the nursery. How does this outer world mirror the
narrator’s situation and ordeal?
2. There is clear evidence of the narrator’s growing paranoia as the story proceeds. Document the
development of her paranoid behaviours through the successive journal entries. In each entry
identify who and what she is increasingly mistrustful of, the level of her paranoia, and how she
deals with it.
3. How does the narration mimic the narrator's mental state? Consider her style of writing, what she
includes, what she omits, and her tone.
4. What is John’s attitude toward his wife, especially in terms of her illness? What terms does he use
to refer to her? While thinking about this issue, consider the symbolism of the “nursery.”
5. Identify some of the ways in which the conflict between the narrator and her husband is
established. Consider what the two characters represent.
6. What are the narrator’s feelings toward her husband? How do they change throughout the story?
7. Would you consider the woman in the story a reliable narrator? If not, how does this affect your
reading of the story?
8. How does the wallpaper function in the story? What purpose does it serve in the narrative and in
understanding the narrator?
9. What does the creeping figure in the wallpaper represent?
10. What are some of the social institutions against which the narrator of the story struggles?
11. How does the narrator try to rebel against these institutions?
12. In what ways might the ending of the story be seen as both a victory and a defeat for the
13. Could the same type of story be written today, in the twenty-first century? Explain.
14. Who’s Jane?
Btw: in this story, “smooch” means “smear” or “stain”, not “kiss”.