Using  The Yellow Wallpaper by C. P. Gilman (pgs 871-887) to construct a 2-3 page literary analysis paper. Your task is to highlight 1-2 elements or literary devices as discussed in class and, through this, explore the connection the author creates to today’s modern world. Why does this story matter today?  Follow APA rules for in-text citations, formatting, and the references page. A minimum of three direct quotes are quired as supporting evidence.



Sample Answer

Sample Answer


Literary Analysis of “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a seminal work of feminist literature that delves into themes of mental health, patriarchy, and the oppression of women. In this analysis, we will focus on the element of symbolism, specifically the yellow wallpaper itself, and explore its relevance to the modern world.

Symbolism of the Yellow Wallpaper

One of the most prominent literary devices in Gilman’s story is the symbolic significance of the yellow wallpaper that the protagonist, Jane, becomes fixated on. The wallpaper serves as a metaphor for the constraints imposed by societal norms and gender roles. As Jane’s mental state deteriorates, her obsession with the wallpaper intensifies, reflecting her entrapment within a patriarchal society that stifles her agency and autonomy.

Gilman vividly describes the wallpaper as “dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study” (Gilman, 1892, p. 872). This description not only captures the physical appearance of the wallpaper but also alludes to the pervasive nature of gender-based oppression that women like Jane experience in society. The repetitive pattern of the wallpaper mirrors the cyclical patterns of marginalization and confinement faced by women throughout history.

Connection to the Modern World

The themes explored in “The Yellow Wallpaper” remain strikingly relevant in today’s modern world. The story sheds light on the detrimental impact of societal expectations and gender norms on individuals’ mental health and well-being. Women continue to face systemic barriers and discrimination that can contribute to feelings of powerlessness and alienation, echoing Jane’s struggles in the narrative.

In contemporary society, the yellow wallpaper can be seen as a metaphor for the invisible constraints and gendered expectations that continue to limit women’s autonomy and agency. The story serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of challenging oppressive structures and advocating for gender equality and empowerment.

Why “The Yellow Wallpaper” Matters Today

“The Yellow Wallpaper” holds significant relevance today as it prompts readers to reflect on issues of mental health, gender inequality, and individual autonomy. By drawing attention to the insidious effects of patriarchal norms on women’s lives, Gilman’s story serves as a call to action for dismantling oppressive systems and fostering a more inclusive and equitable society.

In conclusion, through its use of symbolism, particularly the yellow wallpaper, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman offers a powerful critique of gendered oppression and societal expectations. The story’s enduring relevance underscores the continued importance of advocating for gender equality and challenging oppressive structures in today’s world.


Gilman, C. P. (1892). The Yellow Wallpaper. In Lauter, P. (Ed.), The Heath Anthology of American Literature (6th ed., pp. 871-887). Houghton Mifflin.

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