Character profile


The yellow wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins is about a woman fighting her inner turmoil during her stay in a vacation spot with family. The woman in the story is suffering from postpartum depression and schizophrenia.

At the beginning of the story, the woman/narrator begins by romanticizing her vacation spot in her journal. The tone shifts from positive to negative as she starts to talk about her husband. The narrator exposed her frustration about her husband John, because of his negligence of her concerns about her health. As the story progresses, it becomes apparent that the narrator expresses her true self in only her journal, otherwise, she pretends to be happy. Writing is her passion but her husband and sister in law do not allow her to explore it. As the first few weeks of the vacation pass, the narrator becomes good at hiding her journal and thus hiding her true thoughts. Unfortunately for that, the family fails to see her progression to insanity over a wallpaper.

The author wrote this story in the first-person perspective. We, as the audience can read her journal thoughts, her realities, and her genuine emotions. We know, the yellow wallpaper instantly took her attention. Yellow wallpaper was an eyesore in this beautiful vacation spot. She says, “There is something strange about this house. I can feel it… I’m sure I never used to be so sensitive. I think it is due to this nervous condition”. This is the first clue of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental illness caused by a disorder of the nervous system. As the story progresses, the narrator becomes obsessed with this simple wallpaper. She starts to believe the wallpaper is alive and it is luring her husband and her sister in law. “The thing was that it showed behind that dim sub-pattern, but now I’m quite sure it is a woman”. As the story progresses the narrator’s mental condition worsens. The yellow wallpaper becomes ugly repellant to later becoming the magnet of pity, according to the narrator. She is becoming delusional and hallucinating absurd scenarios. Furthermore, she declared, “I’m here, and no person touches this paper but me, – not alive!” We know in the story the narrator wants to free the women stuck in the wallpaper. Later, she believes the woman in the wallpaper is herself. This explains her schizophrenia diagnosis. Some of the symptoms of schizophrenia are psychosis, paranoia, delusion, and mental confusion. The narrator has shown all of the above symptoms.

The women in the 1980s were mostly housewives, expected to take care of the children and do homemaking. However, the narrator is on a resting vacation without her child. “It is fortunate Mary is so good with the baby. Such a Dear baby! And yet I cannot be with him makes me so nervous” the baby is taken care of by mary, not the mother, who is the narrator. Also, she has insomnia. This proves The narrator is suffering from postpartum depression. Experts say women with schizophrenia may find the early postnatal period distressing and have difficulty bonding with the baby.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a tragedy that occurs in real-life also. It shows the struggle of women with mental disorders. The narrator was suffering from postpartum depression. Even then, she gets ignored by her family, especially her husband; who is a doctor. On top of her condition, she is not allowed to express herself through her passion. All these factors catalyzed her schizophrenia. The yellow paper urges for proper care for women. “The Yellow Wallpaper”, showcase how traditions let unjust and inhumane treatments to others, through the illusion of those practices being beneficial to the privileged population.


The story of the yellow wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins In is about a woman who came on vacation for recovery but oddly she got fascinated by the room’s small details, like the wallpaper patterns. After that, she started to believe the supernatural existence of a woman in the wallpaper. As the story progressed the line between her reality and illusion blurred. End of the story she was completely lost in the abyss.

The woman is diagnosed with postpartum depression and schizophrenia. Sometimes society fails to understand the trauma of childbirth can not be alleviated the same way for every woman. The flawed recovery process can injure one’s mental health too. The narrator of this story is the same. The narrator’s child was not with her because she suffers from postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a depression that occurs after childbirth. Even though she has concerns about her health, the narrator’s husband, John does not think her concern is important enough. He does not allow her to be creatively independent. The only reason the audience knows about her delusional conspiracies because she had hidden her journal since the beginning. Some may argue, writing led her to the schizophrenic episodes. However, writing is a form of release and therapy. Study shows, more women are medicated while men have talked out. In the story, the narrator states, “My brother is also a physician and also of high standing, he says the same thing [Not agreeing to give her treatment]” and “I am absolutely forbidden to “work” until I’m well again”. This quote used sarcasm to indicate discrimination the narrator aware of. The journal “Gender Disparities in Mental Health.” by Jill Astbury, states the depression is almost always reported to be twice as much in women compared with men across diverse societies and social contexts. Despite its high prevalence, less than half of the patients with a depressive disorder are likely to be identified by their doctors in primary care settings.

We often neglect the vulnerable. Mental illness is still a stigma in many parts of the world. If the narrator in the story “the yellow wallpaper” was given all the resources and help her concern. The story would not have such a tragic ending. There is a great need to plan for gender‑sensitive mental health services.  Through education and support, pregnant women with schizophrenia can be protected from the risk factors.


The CUNY database:

Thara, R, and Shantha Kamath. “Women and Schizophrenia.” Indian Journal of 

Psychiatry, vol. 57, no. 6, Medknow, 2015, pp. 246–S251, doi:10.4103/0019-5545.161487.

Jack, Dana Crowley., and Alisha Ali. Silencing the Self across Cultures : 

Depression and Gender in the Social World. Oxford University Press, 2010. 

Joseph, P., and A. Kazanjian. “More Women Are Medicated While More Men Are Talked 

Out: Persistent Gender Disparities in Mental Health Care.” European Psychiatry, vol. 33, no. S1, Elsevier Masson SAS, 2016, pp. S449–S450, doi:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2016.01.1634.


“Postpartum Depression.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and 

Research, 1 Sept. 2018, 

Astbury, Jill. “Gender Disparities in Mental Health.” Gender Disparities in Mental Health | 

Research Repository, 1 Jan. 1970, 

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