Plot Map of “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who is the narrator of the story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” first published it in January 1892 in New England Magazine. At that time the role of women in American society was minimal both legally and socially. The main theme of the book is self-expression and identity; the narrator explains being discouraged and stops doing things she wants to do. On many occasions in the story, Gilman ends up “putting her journal away” because John is coming (4). Gilman uses the sentence “I would say a haunted house and reach the height of a romantic felicity, but that would be asking too much of a fate!” (9) to introduce her story to show how her husband believes that he knows what is best for her. Gilman depicts that she is being denied her right to self-expression as he ignores her plight.
Gilman notices the beginning of her endless problems and hence uses the sentence “I’m getting fond of the big mom,” to describe the rising action in her story (11). The climax quote of the story, “She sees a woman on the yellow paper who she thinks is watching her” (12) describes the narrator’s mental state. Giman’s mental state is completely deteriorated because of the denial of self-expression and identity. However, Charlotte Gilman is forced to stay silent about her problems as she is expected to and protect her marriage because she is a woman, which is her role in society. As a resolution, Gilman says “I’ve got out at last,” (15) to show that her husband thinks that she needs more rest while, on the contrary, what she needed was her right to self-expression and identity.
Perkins Gilman, Charlotte. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” (1892). Acadia University. Web.