The Yellow Wallpaper Questions and Answers
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper book cover
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In "The Yellow Wallpaper," is the narrator reliable or unreliable? Can we believe everything that she says? Why or why not?

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The narrator of Charlotte Gilman Perkin's celebrated short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" is considered an unreliable narrator. Initially, the narrator suffers from postpartum depression and her ignorant, domineering husband follows the "rest cure" to heal her.

The "rest cure" was developed by Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell to minimize distressing stimulation and promote physical health. This "rest cure" required women to refrain from physical or social activity and involved prolonged solitary rest for six to eight weeks. Unfortunately, the cure has the opposite effect on patients. The narrator's mental health suffers as a result of the "rest cure," and she begins to develop severe psychosis. The narrator's psychosis significantly affects her perspective and behavior, which influences her ability to reliably narrate the story.

The narrator illustrates her unreliability by believing that there is a woman trapped inside the yellow wallpaper. The audience immediately recognizes this as a visual...

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