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The Yellow Wallpaper Short Summary

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The narration in this journal begins with the narrator, who seems surprised by the high caliber of the house her husband could afford for their vacation. She does not know how her husband paid for it. In her assessment, there is something weird about the whole set up. The narrator goes ahead to explain her current situation. It is revealed that she has an illness, nervous depression. Her marriage is also not in a good state. John, her doctor, and husband, do not take her illness and other concerns seriously.

A Quick Overview of the Plot

Because of the complicated health situation that the narrator is in, she is not supposed to work or write. On the other hand, she feels that being actively involved can help her recover faster. The reason for writing secretly in the journal is to feel better. Therefore, she begins giving descriptions of the house. Most of her descriptions of the house are positive. However, there are also negative elements such as some bars found on the windows that show up. The bedroom has yellow wallpaper which disturbs her. Her streams of thought are interrupted by the sudden appearance of John. As a result, she has to stop writing.

As the summer progresses, the narrator finds it easier to hide her thoughts and journals away from John. She longs for freedom and finds John controlling. Though John sees her worried about the wallpaper, he does not intend to make any changes to it. The narrator is overwhelmed by several memories and fantasies, including things that happened in her childhood. Jennie, John’s sister, who is also nursing the narrator, interrupts her thoughts at some point.

The visit by the narrator’s family leaves her exhausted. Later, John threatens to leave her under the care of Weir Mitchell, a physician. Her loneliness makes her appreciate the pattern on the wall. John does not want the narrator to leave the house. Soon, it is the wallpaper that forms the main part of the narrator’s imagination. She becomes obsessed with the wallpaper making it hard for her to sleep at night. It gets to a point where the narrator sees like a woman is creeping from the wallpaper. The next day, she tears the paper, trying to free the woman. As the story ends, the narrator is completely insane as she sees many women. John faints when he finds out what the narrator is doing. That is the end of the piece by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

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