The Yellow Wallpaper

By: Hailey and Lexi

About the Author

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)

-hard childhood

-her father abandoned her

-married Charles Stetson

-remarried George Gilman

-committed suicide

Literary Terms


Verbal Irony

-when the narrator says, "John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage."

-no one expects that in marriage

Dramatic Irony

-when she describes the room John has chosen for her, she attributes the bizzare features such as the "rings and things" in the wall, the nailed down furniture, the bars on the windows, and the torn wallpaper

Situational Irony

-when John's course of treatment backfires, which causes the narrators depression to worsen


The Wallpaper

-represents the structure of family, medicine, and tradition in which the narrator finds herself trapped


"I don't like to look out of the windows even-- there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast. I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as i did?"

The woman behind the pattern was an image of herself-- she has been the one "stooping and creeping." She knows that there are more women just like her, so many that she is afraid to look at them.

"There are things in that paper which nobody knows but me, or ever will. Behind that outside pattern the dim shapes get clearer every day. It is always the same shape, only very numerous. And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. I don't like it a bit. I wonder-- I begin to think-- I wish John would take me away from here!"

Gilman's irony is actively at work here: the "things" in the paper are both the ghostly women the narrator sees and the disturbing ideas she is coming to understand.