The Yellow Wallpaper Quotes

Instructor: Summer Stewart

Summer has taught creative writing and sciences at the college level. She holds an MFA in Creative writing and a B.A.S. in English and Nutrition

''The Yellow Wallpaper'' by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a feminist American short story that follows a young woman prescribed the rest cure for her nervous depression. In this lesson, we will look at quotes from the short story.


Published in 1892 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper is a first person short story narrated by a young woman through her journal entries. The young woman is sent to the countryside after the birth of her child for a rest cure, as ordered by her doctor to address her mental instability (as perceived by the men in her life). At the house, she is confined to a small nursery with yellow wallpaper and barred windows. She is forbidden to do any work and becomes incredibly bored, which leads her into an obsession with the wallpaper. The short story is important because it is one of the first examples of feminist literature in America. It addresses societal issues surrounding women's mental and physical health. In this lesson, we will cover several important quotes from the short story that look at some of its themes.

Men Dictate Women's Lives

The narrator is sent to a mansion in the countryside, and the reader quickly realizes that the young woman's life is controlled by the men surrounding her. Her husband, who is also her doctor, and her brother have determined that she is afflicted with depression and hysteria brought on by childbirth. Both men determine that the only way to fix her is to isolate her from society, and the young woman's conscious mind agrees with them. She says, 'My brother is also a physician, and also of high standing, and he says the same thing.' Because these two men are of a well-respected profession and are the men in her life that she is supposed to care for, she believes that whatever they say must be true.

The Wallpaper Traps Her

The yellow wallpaper in the nursery the young woman spends most of her time in becomes a source of obsession. As she becomes obsessed with the wallpaper, she begins to see a woman trapped behind the wallpaper. She says, 'At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be.' The woman trapped behind the yellow wallpaper symbolizes the imprisonment that the young woman subconsciously feels as a result of her husband confining her to the countryside to get over her mental health issues caused by her pregnancy.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account