The Yellow Wallpaper | Study Guide

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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The Yellow Wallpaper | Section 11 | Summary



The narrator has decided to remove the top pattern from the wallpaper, leaving the pattern underneath behind. She feels that there is some urgency about doing this because they have only two days left in the house. She tells the reader that she has a secret she isn't going to even reveal in her journal: "I have found out another funny thing, but I shan't tell it this time! It does not do to trust people too much." John has become concerned about her behavior, and he has been asking questions of both her and of Jennie. The narrator writes that he pretends to be loving and kind, but she can see through him. She's not surprised he's acting strangely after "sleeping under this paper for three months." She also suspects that the yellow wallpaper is affecting Jennie.


The narrator is more secretive and suspicious. She thinks John is just "pretending" to be nice. She is suspicious of whomever is reading her journal—either herself or readers. This idea ties in with the theme of conformity versus expression; that to express oneself can be dangerous seems to be the narrator's message.

This section extends the metaphor of the pattern in the wallpaper representing the pattern between men and women: the pattern, which represents the male–female dynamic, is affecting John and Jennie, too. They think she is wrong for wanting to use her mind to heal herself, but she thinks they are just as fixated and trapped by the pattern as she is. They don't know it, but she does. So who is really insane? Those who remain ignorant of the pattern, or those who tear it apart and try to break free from it?

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