The Yellow Wallpaper | Study Guide

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline.

Buy on Amazon Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The Yellow Wallpaper Study Guide." Course Hero. 29 Sep. 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2021. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2016, September 29). The Yellow Wallpaper Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved April 10, 2021, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2016)



Course Hero. "The Yellow Wallpaper Study Guide." September 29, 2016. Accessed April 10, 2021.


Course Hero, "The Yellow Wallpaper Study Guide," September 29, 2016, accessed April 10, 2021,


Professor Kristen Over of Northeastern Illinois University explains the main characters in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story The Yellow Wallpaper.

The Yellow Wallpaper | Character Analysis



Recently having given birth and suffering from a "nervous condition," the unnamed narrator has been prescribed total rest as a treatment. This means that she must do very little that is physically or mentally stimulating in the hope that she will regain her mental health. The confinement and inactivity of the treatment, however, only make her mental condition deteriorate. She becomes obsessed with the pattern of the yellow wallpaper in her room, and her preoccupation with its twistings and turnings serves to catch and trap her mind and imagination. Her preoccupation eventually detaches completely from reality, as her imaginations become hallucinations, and her view of other people becomes more and more paranoid. Many readers believe the narrator's name is Jane, revealed in a cryptic comment at the very end of the story.


The narrator's husband is an upstanding gentleman doctor, and, as such, he is the face of 19th-century patriarchal oppression of women. While he is depicted as loving and well meaning, he infantilizes and controls his wife, calling her "little," situating her in the house's nursery, giving orders that she must obey, and restricting her freedom to an extreme degree by modern standards. Yet he seems naive about her condition, and, in the end, he is shocked when her mental deterioration becomes obvious.


The narrator calls Jennie a "dear girl" who is very careful with her charge. However, the narrator also says she "must not let her find me writing," suggesting that Jennie is complicit with John in suppressing the narrator's need for a creative outlet. Jennie herself seems rather dull, a "perfect and enthusiastic housekeeper" who does not aspire to anything more. fMary


The narrator describes Mary as "so good with the baby." The caretaker is not mentioned by name again, although readers learn that "the baby is well and happy." Mary is clearly not only doing her job with the baby but, like Jennie, is another force cutting the narrator off from any useful stimulation or focus.

Questions for Characters

View all
Can someone please work this assignment below and follow the Criteria. Thanks, Learning Plan 3 Assignments LP3 Assignment: Informative Speech Outline This assignment will assess the following competen
A literary analysis essay pulls apart a piece of writing to examine its technique and understand its themes and ideas. For this assignment, you will choose two poems from the list on the back and writ
what is the difference between improper and proper nouns? How are they use in sentences?
I need an essay for this. Essay Assignment #1 – Exploratory Essay Summary: For this essay you will be exploring a question of your choosing that relates to the theme we’ve been working with this quart
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Yellow Wallpaper? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!