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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Research literature on hysteria and other "women's problems" published at the end of the 1800s and relate them to "The Yellow Wallpaper."

2. Read Gilman's autobiography The Living of Charlotte Perkins (1935) and compare her real-life experience with depression to that of the protagonist in "The Yellow Wallpaper."

3. Investigate current understanding of postpartum depression. How do healthcare professionals treat women today for this condition? In what ways is it the same or different from the rest-cure prescribed for the narrator in "The Yellow Wallpaper"?

4. Examine the gothic and horror components in the story. How do these enhance the impact of "The Yellow Wallpaper"?

5. Write an extended consideration of the symbolic elements in "The Yellow Wallpaper," including the bolted bed, barred windows, nursery setting, and the wallpaper itself.

6. Compare Gilman's depiction of the narrator's mental deterioration with another portrayal of madness, such as in "The Tell-Tale Heart" (1843) by Edgar Allan Poe or "Silent Snow, Secret Snow" (1932) by Conrad Aiken.