The Yellow Wallpaper


Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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The Yellow Wallpaper: Tenth Entry Summary & Analysis

The narrator confides in the reader that she has seen the mysterious woman escape the wallpaper during the day, creeping along on the shaded lane. The narrator knows it is the creeping woman from the wall, since most women would be embarrassed to be found creeping by daylight—she, for example, locks her door whenever she creeps during the day, so that John suspects nothing. She wishes he would leave their room so that she could be alone with the woman at night.
The narrator identifies further with the woman in the wall, and reveals casually that she herself has begun to ‘creep’ around the room during the day while John is away. This may be the source of the yellow stains on her clothing, and the mysterious groove in the wall that she had spoken of earlier – though still the question remains of whether the narrator herself has created that groove or whether she is now following a groove that was created by one or more others before her. The reliability of the diary begins to be called into question, whether because the narrator is purposely keepings things to herself or because, in her mental illness, there are things she is doing that she doesn’t recognize.
Mental Illness and its Treatment Theme Icon
Outward Appearance vs. Inner Life Theme Icon
Self-Expression, Miscommunication, and Misunderstanding Theme Icon
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