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The Yellow Wallpaper

A Brief Summary of The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Yellow Wallpaper

Question: Give a brief summary of “The Yellow Wallpaper”.

The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It is a series of the entries in a personal diary. The diary pages become the most intimate way for the narrator to describe her three months residence in a particular estate. The first diary entry minutely depicts the circumstances surrounded by which they (she and her husband) come to the estate.  The husband of the narrator diagnoses her with a different type of hysterical tendency. Gradually they have a baby and the husband is the person taking the entire responsibility of the baby. The symptoms of the baby are quite unclear but the husband is confident that nothing wrong has happened with his wife. This is partly because John is a reputed doctor.  The narrator or his wife obeys him and takes all her medicines and supplements having avoided all kinds of mental stimulation at the same time. The narrator is passionate about writing but her husband restricts her writing too.  The wife of John consistently says that there is “something strange “about the house. 
The second entry of the diary portrays the narrator to be going through a personal feeling of failure. The husband is away from home most of the times and the narrator feels exhausted to write and look at her baby who is taken care by a nanny. John believes that it is harmful for the wife to get her fancies actualize.  Her fancies should not be indulged. This is the reason he discourages the narrator to give any vent to her imaginations.  Instead of the admonitions of John, the narrator personifies the Yellow wallpaper of the airy room to be watching at her and malicious too. Gradually she begins to see a blurred figure hiding behind the wallpaper and watching at her.  Her emotional status starts deteriorating day by day.  Most of the times, she cries out and suffers from claustrophobia and weakness.  She loses all her “will and self-control”. In the final entry, near the end the narrator’s lease is described.  The tears down the whole wallpaper into pieces throughout the whole night in order to free the woman she had seen.  She considers herself to be a trapped woman at the very end.  She sees outside of the window and visualizes many women like her to be creeping. The narrator also starts creeping into the room and creates a smudge. Her husband return home and realizes the changed behavior of his wife and faints suddenly. The story ends with the scene that the narrator creeps over him and all around the room “every time”. It can be said that this is an extremely ironic story which explores the inner mind and the emotions of a lady who suffers from a mental breakdown. Hence, it can be said that in this novel, the relationship between the wallpaper and the narrator becomes stronger. The languages are insightful having deeper meaning and through it the narrator starts to write her frustration and also the desperation. 

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