Analysis of The Quotes from 'The Yellow Wallpaper' Which Portray The Narrator

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Words: 625 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 12, 2023

Words: 625|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 12, 2023

In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the author Charlotte Gilman uses indirect characterization to describe the narrator and through several main quotes from 'The Yellow Wallpaper' we can image the protagonist. The main character is a woman who is overcome with an illness deemed nervous condition by her husband. At the same time, her husband is also her physician enabling him to closely monitor her. As a result, he forbids her from doing anything that could prevent her from potentially getting better, like writing and entertaining her own imagination. In an act of rebellion, she begins writing to relieve herself and it is the form that allows her to share this story. The narrator is a highly imaginative woman who is oppressed by her surroundings and is trying to break free from what is holding her down.

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The narrator's expressive imagination is one of her most distinctive characteristics. She generalizes that the house she and John, her husband, are staying in is haunted because its so cheap. The narrator then follows this with the statement “John laughs at me… John is practical in the extreme,” thus implying that her husband finds her ideas to be silly and compared to his practicality, she is imaginative. Furthermore, the narrator seems to personify inanimate objects around her, like the yellow wallpaper in her bedroom. Giving it human like characteristics that she continuously dwells on and reacts to, almost as if they are real people she is engaging with. For example, when describing the path she found that leads to the bay from the estate, she says “the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down”. She is transforming a simple foot path into a creature that stares from two bulbous eyes. Throughout the story, she creates this woman who is trapped behind the yellow wallpaper of the room she remains isolated in. She has imagined that the woman in the wallpaper is trapped behind bars and manages to get out in the daytime.

Unlike most patients, the narrator cannot disregard her physicians concerns because her husband doubles as her physician. Ultimately leaving her with no escape from his oppressive demands. John is constantly reminding her to not let her fancies escape her and to keep her imagination in check. The husband even takes it as far as to threaten to send her to Weir Mitchell, whom the narrator says, “is just like John and my brother, only more so!”. So in turn, the narrator takes whatever medicine John gives her and prevents herself from entertaining her own imagination to appease him even though at times it frustrates her. Her behavior shows that she is pliant to what John asks of her, painting her as submissive or obedient because she fears opposition from anyone. She’s also not allowed to write, but does it anyways in secret to spite him. Outwardly, the narrator seems like a submissive person but her internal emotions conflict with external behavior.

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In studying the yellow wallpaper, she’s found a woman seemingly trapped behind it. The narrator then discovers that the woman in the wallpaper escapes during the daytime. Much like herself, her initial thought is to tie her up and suppress her so that she does not escape. The connection between the narrator and the woman trapped behind the wallpaper is that both are seemingly held captive. It is a symbolic moment when the narrator finally removes the wallpaper because she finally recognizes that the woman behind the wallpaper is herself. This revelation is especially evident towards the end of the story when she claims that she herself is finally free from her husband, “I’ve got out at last… And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!”.  

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Analysis of the Quotes From ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ Which Portray the Narrator. (2023, Jun 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
“Analysis of the Quotes From ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ Which Portray the Narrator.” GradesFixer, 12 Jun. 2023,
Analysis of the Quotes From ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ Which Portray the Narrator. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
Analysis of the Quotes From ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ Which Portray the Narrator [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Jun 12 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from:
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