Although Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses a variety of literary devices in "The Yellow Wallpaper," the ones that permeate the story and make it so effective are epistolary style, irony, and the use of an unreliable narrator. In epistolary fiction, the story is told in the first person as the narrator writes letters or journal entries. In this story, Jane writes in her journal, even though she has been forbidden to. This allows the reader to experience her descent into madness. Readers notice Jane becoming more and more obsessed with the wallpaper and more and more paranoid as the story progresses until she completely loses touch with reality at the end, speaking of herself in the third person and believing herself to be the escapee from behind the wallpaper.
Irony abounds in the story. Verbal irony, words that express the opposite of the truth, include such statements by Jane as the following:
"John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage."
"I am glad my case is not serious!"
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