The Yellow Wallpaper Summary, Analysis & Characters

Before starting The Yellow Wallpaper Summary, let’s discuss the author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who was born in July 3, 1860 and died August 17, 1935. He write The Yellow Wallpaper short story in January 1892. Short story The Yellow Wallpaper Theme is feminism.

The Yellow Wallpaper Summary Part 1

The story begins with the narrator telling us about how she rented a mansion for a vacation with her lover, John. She finds it strange they were able to get it at all! Moreover, she can’t believe the cheap price. She goes on to tell us that she is sick. Yet, her husband John is physician and he can’t find any sickness. He believes that she’s suffering from a temporary depression and slight hysteria.

She’s a little frustrated since none of her family believe her over John’s medical expertise. Plus, her brother gives the same diagnosis as john. She’s forbidden from working or reading, which she thinks would actually help her by taking her mind off of it.

Oh well she figures, since she’s in such a beautiful mansion! The gardens are unbelievable. Like out of an English fairy tale. She’s taking constant medication to treat her condition. She wanted to stay on the ground floor with roses outside, but that was impossible. Instead, they’re living in the nursery at the top of the mansion. Inside the room is a dull yellow wallpaper that has faded and torn.

The Yellow Wallpaper Summary Part 2

John is a working doctor and goes out during the day to tend to his patients. They also have maid and a child. Jane, the narrator, stresses that she can’t be with her baby. At first John said that he would re-paper the wallpaper. Thinking about what hard work it would be, he changed his mind.

He tells Jane to ignore it. Jane can’t even go see her cousin Henry and Julia because John thinks that her mind is so frazzled that it couldn’t take it. Then Jane gets a little creped out. Her stats explaining that she sees a woman in the pattern of the yellow wallpaper. Their lease is up in 3 weeks, so John doesn’t want to leave early.

The wallpaper continues to creep Jane out.  Jane is completely transfixed on the wallpaper. She notes that the wallpaper changes as the light changes. Jane appears to be getting more and more paranoid. She says that she is trusting John less and less. Also, she saw John as well as Jeannie looking at the paper one time.

The Yellow Wallpaper Summary Part 3

John makes Jane lay down for an hour after each meal. Yet, she never actually falls asleep. She tells John that she did. Which she figures is quite a bad habit since she’s lying. They have a week left and Jane is completely devolving mentally. This is in contrast to her improving physical condition. She doesn’t trust John anymore and is convinced to discover what is in the wallpaper. She finds the smell of the wallpaper revolting. And she finds that smell wherever she goes.

Finally, she is convinced that the wallpaper is in fact moving. She believes that the woman behind the wallpaper is the one doing it. She is getting less and less trusting of John. Even he asking questions to the maid has Jane angry. Jane thinks that John is pretending to be loving and kind. She thinks that the yellow wallpaper is affecting the others minds. It’s their last day at this house and Jane has stated ripping the wallpaper off.

The Yellow Wallpaper Summary Part 4

This is the Ending lines of The Yellow Wallpaper Analysis

She tells the maid she’s going to lay down, but only so that she’s left alone. She locks the door and throws the key down into the front path. Towards the end she wonders out loud whether that creepy woman had “come out of the wallpaper. As I did. When she has ripped off all the wallpaper, the woman from the yellow wallpaper is released.  John comes home, gets the key, and goes into the room. The woman inside is no longer Jane, but the woman from the wallpaper. She states she’s finally gotten out she’ll never be put back in.

The Yellow Wallpaper Characters

The Woman in the Wallpaper, Mary, Jennie, John, Narrator.

I hope you will have understood the complete “The Yellow Wallpaper Summary” of the novel. If you are interested to read the complete novel you can free Download or buy The Yellow Wallpaper pdf.

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The Yellow Wallpaper Quotes by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

  • It is the same woman, I know, for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight.
  • There are things in that paper that nobody knows but me, or ever will.
  • I’m sure I never used to be so sensitive. I think it is due to this nervous condition.
  • It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide—plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.
  • Most men’s eyes, when you look at them critically, are not like that. They may look at you very expressively, but when you look at them, just as features, they are not very nice.
  • And there was you – your fair self, always delicately dressed, with white firm fingers sure of touch in delicate true work. I loved you then.
  • I don’t like to look out of the windows even–there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast.
    I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did?
  • Nobody would believe what an effort it is to do what little I am able,—to dress and entertain, and order things.
  • It is the strangest yellow, that wallpaper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw-not beautiful ones like buttercups but old foul, bad yellow things.
  • This was not life, this was a nightmare.

I hope you really enjoy The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman quotes.

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