Analyze the tone in "The Yellow Wallpaper."

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“The Yellow Wallper,” a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman , is an early work of feminist literature that has some aspects of Gothic literature or horror. The tone of the story changes somewhat from the beginning to the end. At the beginning of the story, the tone feels domestic,...

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“The Yellow Wallper,” a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is an early work of feminist literature that has some aspects of Gothic literature or horror. The tone of the story changes somewhat from the beginning to the end. At the beginning of the story, the tone feels domestic, calling to mind wholesome, early American works like Little House on the Prairie. As the story continues, however, the reader begins to get a sense of how trapped and isolated the narrator feels. The tone begins to shift to one of desperation and isolation, and her journal entries become more disconcerting.

Finally, in the last few paragraphs of the story the tone shifts once more, to one of outright horror and fear. The narrator stops being as lucid and cogent as she was earlier, with her belief that she is the woman in the wallpaper acting as a classic horror turn.

Gilman was able to establish these changes in tone by having the story be told in first-person, and giving the readers an inside look into the mind of the narrator. Because the reader is able to follow her thought process so clearly for the first two thirds of the story, it becomes extra creepy when the sane woman unravels.

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