« The Syn of forgetfulness | Main | My Meaning is your Meaning, Or is it? »

Silent Madness Inside the Yellow Wallpaper

"By daylight, she is subdued, quiet. I fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so still. It is puzzling. It keeps me quiet by the hour." (Gilman 536)

This psychological study of one womans slow, quiet descent into madness is incredibly suspenseful. The reader gets the opportunity, through the woman's writing, to delve into her psyche and explore the changes that she goes through as her time in this prison with yellow wallpaper drives her over the edge. I liked how she would be talking about something completely different, showing the reader the other obstacles which surround her, like her husband and sister-in-law, and then suddenly the wallpaper would have the foreground again.

It becomes truly interesting when she begins to see a woman inside the paper trying to get out. What she doesn't come to realize is she is seeing herself. It is the narrator who is shaking the bars of her own insanity trying to get out. The woman she sees is subdued in the daytime because the narrator is quiet and subdued during the day. The paper has her as mesmorized as it does the phantom woman behind it. It is only at night that she begins to creep.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (5)

Erica Gearhart:

While I was reading, I thought you would like this story because it reminded me a little bit of the way that you write: creepy and well thought out, but not horrifically gory. I also liked how the narrator seemed to go in and out of madness as you said-first talking about reality and then about the wallpaper. All of the connections you made between the narrator and the woman behind the wallpaper are helpful to me because I’m still trying to figure out exactly what happened at the end of the story.

Greta Carroll:

Like Erica already mentioned, this story reminded me of your writing style. It also reminded me a lot of Poe. As you mentioned, how she is continually going back to the wallpaper, the interruptions of thoughts, dashes, italics, and exclamation marks are all reminiscent of a Poe story. The key difference here though is that the story is about a woman and written by a woman, so we get a different angle to things. In a lot of ways I see this story as a forerunner to Plath’s The Bell Jar.


I agree that the narrator is the woman behind the wallpaper. When she looks out the windows, she says that she can see the woman creeping around; however, she is only able to see out of one window at a time. I think that is because it is her reflection in the window, so she sees herself creeping around and believes it is another woman.

Michelle Tantlinger:

I love reading anything you write Mara! And I knew this story would definately be a good one for you to read if you haven't read it already. Writing a story about insanity creeping into your mind is an amazing idea. Gilman was really able to draw her readers into her character's descent. A very inspiring story for horror writers!

Yes, Jenna, that's exactly what I thought about her seeing the woman outside. She mentions how she can't understand how the woman gets across the yard, or something of that nature, so quickly when she looks out a window on the other side of her room. Because she is the woman.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 2, 2009 10:13 PM.

The previous post in this blog was The Syn of forgetfulness.

The next post in this blog is My Meaning is your Meaning, Or is it?.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.