The Yellow Wallpaper
Short Essay Questions
1. Why have the narrator and her husband rented the summer house?
2. How does the narrator say John feels about intangible things?
3. Why does the narrator suggest she’s not getting well because ofthe fact that her husband is a physician? What does this say about their relationship?
4. How does the narrator initially explain her condition?
5. What does the narrator’s husband and brother prescribe to her for her condition?
6. Why does it bother the narrator that she cannot read or write while recuperating?
7. How does the narrator feel about her husband and brother’s prescriptions?
8. What does the narrator say “exhausts” her?
9. Why does the narrator abruptly end her narration in the first few pages?
10. Why does John refuse to repaper the nursery after initially agreeing?
11. What doesn’t the narrator mind about the nursery at first?
12. How does the narrator initially describe the wallpaper?
13. Why does the narrator think her husband was able to rent the summer house at such short notice?
14. What major life event has the narrator just endured?
15. How has the major life event that the narrator recently endured affected her mental health?
16. In 1862, what was the standard cure for depression, specifically after a woman has had a baby?
17. How does the narrator describe the countryside?
18. Who is Weir Mitchell?
19. Why does John threaten to send the narrator to Weir Mitchell?
20. Why is the narrator afraid of being sent to Weir Mitchell?
21. Why doesn’t the narrator cry in front of Jennie or John?
22. What are some indications that the narrator is, in fact, not getting better?
23. How does the narrator describe the wallpaper in the middle of the story?
24. What is suggested by the narrator’s multiple descriptions of the wallpaper?
25. Who does John tell the narrator is the only person who can truly help her out of her sickness?
26. Why is the narrator glad that she is in the nursery and not the baby?
27. What does John call the narrator in the middle of the night? And why?
28. What does what John calls the narrator in the middle of the nightsuggest about their relationship?
29. Besides the ugly wallpaper pattern, what does the narrator think she sees in the wallpaper?
30. How is the narrator similar to the figure she sees in the paper?
31. What’s illuminating about the conversation between John and the narrator on page 110? What is his tone with her? How does he treat her?
32. The narrator says that she watches the paper always. What does this increasing obsession suggest about the narrator?
33. How is the narrator’s behavior changing because of her obsession?
34. Why does the narrator seem jealous when she catches first John, and then Jennie, looking at the wallpaper?
35. The narrator believes the wallpaper has an odor. How does she describe the odor?
36. What is the wallpaper’s odor a metaphor for?
37. The narrator considers burning the house down to “reach the smell.” What does this say about her condition?
38. What is the “smooch” on the wall?
39. How does the narrator think the “smooch” on the wall was created?
40. What does the woman in the wallpaper do to shake the pattern?
41. What description is horrifying about the wallpaper?
42. Where does the narrator think she sees the woman in the wallpaper?
43. Why does the narrator feel bad for the woman in the wallpaper?
44. Who does the narrator want to help save the woman in the wallpaper?
45. Why does the narrator say John “pretended to be loving and kind”?
46. What does the fact that the narrator says John “pretended to be living and kind” suggest about the narrator’s condition?
47. At what point does this short story hit its climax?
48. Why doesn’t the narrator want others to touch the wallpaper?
49. Why does the narrator consider jumping out the window?
50. The narrator briefly considers jumping out the window. Why does she decide against it?
51. What is suggested by the narrator’s concern for her reputation?
52. Why doesn’t the narrator want to go outside near the climax of the story?
53. What does this quote suggest: “It is so pleasant to be out in this great room and creep around as I please.”
54. Who does the narrator believe she has become by the end of the story?
55. What does John do when he sees the narrator creeping around the room?
56. What does John’s action after seeing his wife creeping around the room suggest about John?