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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.

Background

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.

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