The Yellow Wallpaper Questions and Answers
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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In "The Yellow Wallpaper," describe the room the narrator stays in.

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The narrator describes the room with some precision, particularly the wallpaper which gives the story its name. The room is described as large and airy, and the narrator speculates that it has previously been used as a nursery, playroom, and gymnasium since "the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls." These details suggest a prison just as much as a nursery or a gymnasium, and it quickly becomes clear that the narrator's husband has shut her up in what is essentially a large but dilapidated cell. The narrator describes her husband as well intentioned, but she is insane by the end of the story and unreliable from the very beginning.

Apart from being a prison, the room is in a state of disrepair. The wallpaper, quite apart from its bilious color, is grimy and a faded. Patches of it have been stripped off the walls, though it is not quite clear whether the narrator did this herself. She ends her description of the wallpaper by remarking:


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I think it's important to note that the narrator's first impressions of the house where the room is contained is "a colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house." There is an element of mystery as well as seclusion. The speaker says, "I don't like our room a bit," and says the windows are "barred." She mentions that the "paint and paper look as if a boys' school had used it" and that "it is stripped off" and in "great patches all around the head of my bed." The narrarator spends a great deal of time analyzing the colors of the wall paper and decides that it is changing.

She describes the furniture as "no worse than inharmonious" and spends a lot of time in the "great immovable bed" that is "nailed down."

Hope this helps.