The Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper
Reading Questions
1. Describe the basic situation that the narrator finds herself in at the beginning of the story.
2. Who is John?
3. Discuss John’s attitude and behavior toward his wife, especially in terms of her illness.
4. What does the narrator think of her own illness and treatment?
5. Establish setting: what is the house like?
6. What about the room in which she stays? Describe it.
7. Specifically describe the wallpaper.
8. Identify some of the ways in which the conflict between the narrator and her husband are
9. Discuss the general nature of the narrator’s feelings toward her husband. Is she wrong to feel
10. How does the narrator feel about her baby?
11. What does John think of the narrator’s “imaginative power”?
12. What annoys the speaker about the wallpaper?
13. How does the narrator describe John’s sister? How is she the “light in the house”?
14. What does the narrator begin to see in the wallpaper? Describe her “gymnastics.”
15. Why does the speaker feel compelled to write?
16. Do you think John is trying to drive his wife crazy? Describe his treatment of her when she
17. How does the wallpaper evolve? What has the figure become?
18. Does John really believe his wife is better? Are his requests realistic?
19. Describe how John and Jennie now respond to her?
20. How does the paper begin to influence her? What is she now convinced of and how does the
smell now affect her?
21. What is the “smooch” in the wall?
22. What does the woman in the wallpaper do?
23. How does the narrator now view her husband?
24. What is the “work” that she speaks of?
25. What does the narrator plan to do with the rope? What does she actually do with it?
26. What clues can you point to that suggest that the woman in the story is not an entirely
“reliable” narrator?
27. Who does she now think she is? Who is Jane?
28. What is the principal social institution against which the narrator of the story struggles?
29. In what ways might the ending of the story be seen as both a victory and a defeat for the
narrator? In what ways is her situation both similar to and different from that of the creeping
woman in the wallpaper?
30. What was Gilman’s intention in writing “The Yellow Wallpaper”?