Point of Views in "The Yellow Wallpaper"

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About this sample


Words: 603 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Words: 603|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a classic short story that explores the themes of mental health, gender roles, and the oppression of women in the late 19th century. One aspect of the story that is often overlooked is the point of view from which it is told. By examining the various points of view in the story, we can gain a deeper understanding of the protagonist's mental state and the overall message of the narrative. This essay will analyze the point of views in "The Yellow Wallpaper" and their implications, ultimately arguing that the first-person perspective heightens the reader's empathy for the protagonist's struggle.

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The story is narrated in the first-person point of view, with the protagonist, referred to as the narrator, as the sole perspective. This allows readers to intimately experience the narrator's thoughts, emotions, and descent into madness. In the beginning, the narrator appears to be a reliable narrator, describing her surroundings and her husband's actions. However, as the story progresses, it becomes evident that the narrator's mental state is deteriorating, and her perceptions become increasingly distorted.

One key aspect of the first-person point of view in "The Yellow Wallpaper" is the narrator's unreliable perspective. She is suffering from postpartum depression and is confined to a room with oppressive yellow wallpaper, which she becomes obsessed with. As the reader, we are privy to her thoughts and delusions, but we also question the accuracy of her perceptions. For example, she describes seeing a woman trapped behind the wallpaper, creeping and shaking the bars. This hallucination reflects her own internal struggle and her desire to break free from the constraints placed upon her by society.

Furthermore, the first-person point of view allows the reader to empathize with the narrator's isolation and frustration. She is confined to a room against her will, with no stimulation or company. Her husband, John, dismisses her concerns and treats her as a fragile object rather than a person with agency. Through the narrator's perspective, we feel her desperation and longing for freedom, as she becomes increasingly fixated on the wallpaper as a symbol of her own entrapment.

The first-person point of view also serves to highlight the gender dynamics and the oppression of women during the time period in which the story is set. The narrator is constantly undermined and belittled by her husband and other male figures in her life. Her desires and opinions are dismissed, and she is forced into a passive role. By telling the story from the perspective of a woman, Gilman sheds light on the societal expectations and constraints placed upon women at that time.

Furthermore, the limited perspective of the first-person point of view allows the reader to experience the narrator's gradual descent into madness. The story is structured in a way that reflects the narrator's deteriorating mental state, with her thoughts becoming increasingly fragmented and disjointed. This creates a sense of unease and confusion for the reader, mirroring the narrator's own confusion and detachment from reality.

In conclusion, the first-person point of view in "The Yellow Wallpaper" plays a crucial role in enhancing the reader's understanding of the protagonist's mental state and the overall themes of the story. By immersing the reader in the narrator's thoughts and emotions, Gilman effectively conveys the isolation, frustration, and oppression experienced by women in the late 19th century. The unreliable perspective of the narrator adds depth to the narrative and emphasizes the societal constraints placed upon women. Through this unique point of view, "The Yellow Wallpaper" remains a powerful and thought-provoking story that continues to resonate with readers today.


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Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wallpaper." The New England Magazine, 1892.

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Point of Views in “The Yellow Wallpaper”. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 21, 2024, from
“Point of Views in “The Yellow Wallpaper”.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
Point of Views in “The Yellow Wallpaper”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jul. 2024].
Point of Views in “The Yellow Wallpaper” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 21]. Available from:
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