Main Questions in the Yellow Wallpaper
- 1 Why have the narrator and her husband, John, rented the “colonial mansion”?
- 2 Give a description of John
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- 4 What clue does the narrator’s repeated lament, “what can one do?” give us about her personality?
- 5 How would you characterize the narrator’s initial reaction to, and description of, the wallpaper?
- 6 Describe the narrator’s state after the first two weeks of residence
- 7 Who is Jennie?
- 8 How has the narrator changed in her description of the wallpaper?
- 9 By the Fourth of July, what does the narrator admit about the wallpaper?
- 10 As the summer continues, describe the narrator’s thoughts
- 11 How does the narrator try to reach out to her husband?
- 12 Why do you think Gilman briefly changes the point of view from first person singular to the second person as the narrator describes the pattern of the wallpaper?
- 13 Who does the narrator see in the wallpaper?
- 14 Abruptly the narrator switches mood from boredom and frustration to excitement. To what does she attribute this change?
- 15 By the final section of the story, what is the narrator’s relationship to her husband? to Jennie? to the wallpaper?
- 16 Identify what has driven the narrator to the brink of madness?
Why have the narrator and her husband, John, rented the “colonial mansion”?
What is its history, and what is the reaction of the heroine to this estate? Does she feel comfortable living in the house? In the beginning of the story, the narrator suffers from postpartum depression after childbirth. Before, this was known as woman hysterics. Due to people who were supposed to rent the house were wealthy people who lost their money, the house was rented for a low price. The narrator expresses the hate she has for the room she is locked in because of the ugly wallpaper, so ugly it drives her crazy.
Give a description of John
Why does the heroine say that his profession is “perhaps . . . one reason I do not get well faster”? How does the narrator view her husband? Does she agree with John’s diagnosis and treatment? Who else supports John’s diagnosis? What effect does this have on the heroine? John is the husband of the narrator, he does not believe that his wife is sick. He thinks that by her having a lot of rest and leaving her in a room alone and not letting her exercise. John treats her like a child, like when he says, little girl. The narrator doesn’t like her relationship with John and tries to tell him, but he is denial and doesn’t see her as an equal. Since he is a doctor, he thinks he is smarter than her and doesn’t care for her opinion. He thinks that men work outside, and woman work inside the house.
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What clue does the narrator’s repeated lament, “what can one do?” give us about her personality?
Describe other aspects of the woman’s personality that are revealed in the opening of the story. What conflicting emotions is she having toward her husband, her condition, and the mansion? The narrator feels she has no power and her husband is like a model for their society. He as a doctor prescribed her to get some rest and to relax for her anxiety to die down. This meant she had to be locked up in an ugly yellow wallpaper room for hours. She tries to convince herself that her husband must know better because he is a doctor. The narrator attempts to persuade herself that her husband knows best and that she, a lady, is the result of unreasonable tensions that (as indicated by her better half) is common in her gender. She has mixed feelings about her husband, she thinks her condition is serious, she dislikes the mansion and thinks it’s creepy.
How would you characterize the narrator’s initial reaction to, and description of, the wallpaper?
Since the begging of the story, the narrator expressed her feelings for the wallpaper saying she didn’t like it. She says it has a sub-pattern but she thought it was annoying because you could only see it when it was under the light. When she looked at the wallpaper, she could see a sort of figure behind the design.
Describe the narrator’s state after the first two weeks of residence
Has John’s relationship with his wife changed at all? She stayed in the ugly nursery for the first two weeks isolated. When she used the word atrocious to describe the room that is the first hit that tells us she does not like the place from the beginning.
Who is Jennie?
What is her relationship to the narrator, and what is her function in the story? Jennie is John’s sister and housekeeper, but I think Jane might also be the name of the narrator because she was left nameless throughout the story. Jennie doesn’t really have a big role in the book, but she does realize the interest of the narrator growing.
How has the narrator changed in her description of the wallpaper?
Is it fair to say that the wallpaper has become more dominant in her day-to-day routine? Explain. At the beginning she says that the paper is ugly and unattractive to the narrator and is always saying how annoying she thinks the wallpaper is. Later on in the story she starts liking the wallpaper and it’s design.
By the Fourth of July, what does the narrator admit about the wallpaper?
What clues does Gilman give us about the education of the narrator and her increasingly agitated state? Is she finding it more and more difficult to communicate? Explain. She makes a description of the wallpaper comparing it to a jail bar. She describes seeing a stooping down and creeping woman in the wallpaper. Every second she spends in the nursery drives her crazier and more unstable, causing her husband to overpower her and fall to pieces. John scares her by telling her he will send her off to a doctor if she doesn’t get better. She is so terrified because she knows that he is like her husband, John, but more.
As the summer continues, describe the narrator’s thoughts
What is her physical condition? Is there a link between her symptoms and psychological illness? At the beginning of the summer she was a little sick and told her husband about it. His decision, being the good doctor that he was, told her that all she needed was rest. As the summer goes by, being locked in the nursery all by herself with nothing to do but think and write drives her crazier than before.
How does the narrator try to reach out to her husband?
What is his reaction? Is this her last contact with sanity? Do you think John really has no comprehension of the seriousness of her illness? In her own way, the narrator wants to try and reason with her husband, but he is convinced that males are superior to women and men are always right. She tries to stay sane when in the room, but we can tell in the ending she is slipping away. Because he is a doctor, he thinks that a woman’s emotions as craziness because he is too lost in his own prejudices for him to understand his wife’s troubles.
Why do you think Gilman briefly changes the point of view from first person singular to the second person as the narrator describes the pattern of the wallpaper?
What effect does the narrator say light has on the wallpaper? When they switch the point of view from first person to second, for a moment, is to make us analyze the story more. This helps us realize the great irritation yet the crazy patterns the wallpaper has. She mentions that when the light hits the wall it looks unclean and faded.
Who does the narrator see in the wallpaper?
How have her perceptions of John and Jennie changed from the beginning of the story? When the story first begins Jane sounds happy to be staying in a big house, but for some odd reason she has a strange feeling something is wrong with the house. She suggests the house might be haunted. She says it’s pretty but alone because the town is far away. The description of the land and house gives us an idea of the narrator’s mental state.
Abruptly the narrator switches mood from boredom and frustration to excitement. To what does she attribute this change?
How does John react to this? What new aspects of the wallpaper does she discuss? He doesn’t see how serious her condition is and believes it to be impossible for women to be sick. The narrator examines is the actions here husband acts out because it’s not that the room made her unstable rather her husband for ignoring her.
By the final section of the story, what is the narrator’s relationship to her husband? to Jennie? to the wallpaper?
How has the narrator’s perspective changed from the start of the story? What change to do we see in her actions? The narrator’s craziness peaks as she distinguished totally with the lady in the wallpaper. She trusts that not just has the lady left the wallpaper however so has she. Once more, the representative significance is that both she and the lady have freed themselves from manly persecution; by removing from the jail of the wallpaper, they are free. This moment of freedom again happens by evening glow when, as per the theme Gilman has drawn, ladies appreciate a break from the persecution of manly daylight. With her explanation that she escaped the wallpaper, no help to John or Jennie, she recommends that her husband was part blame for isolation. She has enabled John and social desires to rule her and keep her away from freedom.
Identify what has driven the narrator to the brink of madness?
How does she try to free herself from this element? What is her greatest desire? What is the central irony of the story? What drove the narrator to being so mad is how her husband treated her. He never gave her freedom nor the help she needed because he didn’t believe she needed it.