The Yellow Wallpaper Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 33 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Yellow Wallpaper.
This section contains 628 words
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The Yellow Wallpaper Summary & Study Guide Description

The Yellow Wallpaper Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

"The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a collection of seven stories which focus on the suppression against women's rights and women's struggle to obtain equality. Each story depicts a female protagonist who battles oppression, and most of these women ultimately triumph.

In "The Yellow Wallpaper", the narrator and John, her husband, rent a colonial mansion for the summer. Confined to an upstairs room, the narrator's already fragile mental health worsens as she obsesses about the yellow wallpaper covering the room. Convinced that a woman is trapped behind it, the narrator removes the wallpaper to free the woman, yet her insistence that she has "got out at last" (page 15) indicates her lack of mental instability through her belief that she is the woman behind the wall.

In "Three Thanksgivings," Mrs. Delia Morrison receives invitations from both of her children, Andrew and Jean, to spend Thanksgiving with them and live with them, but she does not want to leave her home, despite the fact that Mr. Peter Butts has taken out a mortgage on her property and uses the debt as leverage to try to force her into marriage, another option she rejects. Determined to repay her debt, Delia opens the Haddleton Rest and Improvement Club for Ladies, earning enough money to repay Mr. Butts and even turn a profit.

While spending the summer at an artsy mountain resort with her friend Lois in "The Cottagette," Malda falls in love with Mr. Ford Mathews. At Lois's suggestion, Malda tries to encourage Ford to propose by making a home of the cottagette. She has a kitchen installed, and she takes up domestic responsibilities, though it limits her time to focus on her art. When Ford finally proposes on the condition that Malda give up cooking to focus on her art, she cannot believe that such a wonderful man exists.

In "Turned," Mrs. Marroner is distraught when a letter mix-up reveals that her husband has impregnated Gerta, their young servant. However, her initial anger at Gerta is soon transplanted by disdain for the man who knowingly subjected Gerta (and his unborn child!) to the world's disparagement. Returning home from business abroad, Mr. Marroner returns to an empty home. After a detective locates Mrs. Marroner's new address, he visits her and is surprised to find that Gerta and his child also live with his former wife.

In "Making a Change," Frank and Julia's baby cries constantly, driving their household crazy and nearly driving Julia to suicide. Luckily, Frank's mother proposes a change. She secretly opens a daycare where she cares for her grandson and fourteen other infants, while Julia resumes teaching music lessons secretly. Frank is furious when he first learns that his wife and mother are working, but he quickly learns to accept, and even appreciate, the change that makes his entire household happier.

In "If I Were a Man," Mollie often wishes she were a man. Then, one day after a fight with her husband Gerald, she is shocked to find herself in his body. Throughout the day, Gerald is overcome with foreign, feminine thoughts, while Mollie receives quite an education into a man's mind.

Dr. Joan, while staying with her sister Emma and brother-in-law Arthur in "Mr. Peebles' Heart," is struck by her sister's selfishness and Arthur's inherent goodness. So, she convinces Arthur to travel to Europe for two years for his health because traveling is his lifelong dream. During his absence, Joan improves the profitability of his business and cultivates Emma's mind. When a revitalized Arthur returns home, he finds a less stressful job and a more independent, selfless wife. When Arthur and Emma inquire about the condition of his heart, Dr. Joan merely responds that his condition has responded to treatment.

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