Character analysis in the Yellow Wallpaper


This paper will focus on two short stories which are the Yellow wallpaper and the “A & P.” The paper discusses the theme of individualism and the consequences of individuals actions in the short story the” A & p” by John Updike. The paper is also going to analyze the main character in the Yellow Wallpaper and her level of madness which in this case is the narrator who is the unnamed woman. Together with the narrator, this paper will also analyze John who is the narrator’s husband.

Character analysis in the Yellow Wallpaper

In the short story, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman the narrator is dealing with post-traumatic depression. The narrator is subjected to a solitary confinement in a room with a Yellow Wallpaper to recover from her illness, but instead, it makes her develop wild imaginative power and a habit of story making. Physician John who is her husband is the one who prescribes this kind of treatment on her and demands that the narrator get a bed rest in a secluded room. John also forbids the narrator from participating in any creative activity such as writing. The narrator is unpleased about her husband actions who controls everything she does; she feels like she is locked in the marriage as she had no say. Everything she does she had to get approval from her husband and her sister in law. The narrator, however, occupies her imaginations with the Yellow Wallpaper surrounding the room and end up developing some relationship with it and this gives room for her to express her suppressed feelings. She suffers from a nervous condition, and the confined environment worsens her situation. Her entrapment in the bedroom with a Yellow Wallpaper makes her emotional anguish more and more. The fact that she’s not able to express her loneliness feeling makes her more creative and writes about her connection with the Yellow Wallpaper in the room. She imagines the presence of a woman creeping behind the wallpaper. She views the female figure trapped in the pattern of Wallpaper, and she realizes that both the woman behind the wallpaper and her were suffering from oppression and imprisonment. The narrator becomes so much obsessed with the wallpaper that she forgets her desire of being a flawless wife and a mother and besides she focuses on how she could save the imprisoned woman in the wallpaper. In her efforts to save the woman she locks herself inside the room to strips the remains of the wallpaper where her husband finds her creeping and touching the yellow wallpaper as she believed she had freed herself from imprisonment (Wink, 2005).


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The narrator’s husband John who is a physician finds nothing wrong with her wife upon his physical evaluations on her. John is very practical unlike his imaginative wife; he, therefore, restrict her behavior as part of her treatment. He seems to love his wife though fails to understand the negative impacts his treatment would have on his wife. He sees himself superior and denies the narrator her rights of self-expression and freedom. He differs with his wife, and whenever the narrator tells him she feels worse and worse, he disagrees and in his response he says her body is getting better and better. He denies the fact that her mind could be sick despite her body being healthy. John fails to see the struggling woman in her wife and only seems to know her superficially. He chooses a room where he confines the narrator subjecting her to loneliness and depression. John’s medical practice keeps him away from home thus giving the narrator ample time to write her secretive journal and also to develop obsessive imaginations of the Yellow Wallpaper in the room (Wink, 2005).

Individualism, and the consequences of individual actions in “A & P.”

In the short story by John Updike the three girls who comfortably walk in the store while on bathing suits seem to be doing their own thing. It takes their courage on their choice of dressing despite the society perception on that kind of dressing which was completely unacceptable at that time. Sammy, on the other hand, decides to stand out and stand up for the girls against his boss. He is not happy with how the manager Mr. Lengel addresses the girls and embarrasses them. Sammy takes an individual decision by resigning the job with hope of the girls to notice her actions. Sammy’s personal choice on quitting the job is as fueled by his boss actions of being rude to the customers. In the story, the manager also takes an individual action by warning the young female customer about her skimpy attire. Upon being warned, Queenie is left to make her own decision on how to respond to the warning. Consequences are accompanying the kind of decisions which each person in the story makes. Sammy’s makes a youthful decision without minding hurting his parents .His decisions make him face the whole of summer unemployed and with uncertain future (Vipond & Hunt, 1984).


Wink, J. (2005). Critical pedagogy: Notes from the real world. New York, NY: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.

Vipond, D., & Hunt, R. A. (1984).Point-driven understanding: Pragmatic and cognitive dimensions of literary reading. Poetics13(3), 261-277.

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