Topics for Discussion

1. Imagine how you would respond to the rest-cure. What would be the most difficult aspect of it? Why?

2. Discuss the limited role women were expected to play in 19th-century society. What are the attitudes toward acceptable roles for women today?

3. How do such aspects of the story as Setting, character, and point of view heighten the emotional impact of “The Yellow Wallpaper”?

4. Characterize the relationship between the narrator and her husband, John. Consider his terms of endearment and his attitude toward her expressed wishes.

5. In your opinion, what exactly is represented by the woman behind the wallpaper? Can she ever be set free?

6. Consider the impact of Gilman’s use of first-person narration and the journal form. What effect would be gained or lost by utilizing another point of view in the story?