Please evaluate this thesis statement for a literary analysis essay of "The Yellow Wallpaper": "The setting of this story forms the backdrop for the symbolism, where the main character describes the mental plight of being confined while battling depression."

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"The Yellow Wallpaper" is the best known story by the American writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, originally published in 1892.

In terms of your thesis statement, I think it could use a little more work and finesse. Perhaps check online (or with your teacher) for some good examples of a strong thesis statement. While I think the idea (namely the importance of the setting) behind it is fine, it is a little long-winded and unfocused. A good thesis statement should be short and to the point, making it absolutely clear what you will be discussing and what your position is. After rewriting the thesis, I would make sure you have a clear opinion about your thesis and plenty of evidence to back it up. Teachers will be looking for quotes and examples from the text.

The other thing to consider is the description of the protagonist as "battling depression." While this isn't inaccurate-—er condition is described as a "temporary nervous depression"—it is important to remember that Perkins Gilman is an early example of a feminist writer, and the story is, significantly, about a woman imprisoned, both literally and symbolically, by her husband. As such, it offers a critique of marriage and the woman's role in society. Aside from her "imprisonment" (the husband would see his efforts as helpful, not destructive, to his wife's mental health), the other key symbol is the wallpaper, which can function on many levels, and you will not doubt want to discuss this at length and in detail.

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