What do you consider to be the primary theme of "The Yellow Wallpaper," and what in the story has led you to this interpretation?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The primary theme of The Yellow Wallpaper is the unfair categorization of women by society. In the story, a woman with a clear case of post partum depression has been cast aside and taken to the country for a change of scene. Inadvertently, the lack of knowledge of her society on the actual needs of women led to her being put in a situation where she was isolated, and basically left to her own devices. What society did not realize is that her turmoil was not to be fixed with a change of scene: Her conflict is completely internal. It is a dis balance of body, mind, and soul which (they would have never guessed) is also a dangerous by-product of pregnancy.

This being said, the main character is left alone with a disturbed mind, and completely misunderstood by her husband and her doctor. Her physical needs were dismissed as female weakness and perhaps even as something not important at all. This is when she lost it. Had society (in her day) had taken just one step to consider the real needs and sufferings of the female gender she may have had a chance of not going completely insane.

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The Yellow Wallpaper

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