The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story by American novelist and short story writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman Published in 1892, it is an important feminist work which explores themes of gender roles, male domination, and mental illness. It is the story of a woman’s descent into madness as she is confined to a bedroom with yellow wallpaper by her husband, a physician.
The story is often assigned for students in college and university, as it offers an in-depth exploration of issues still relevant today. With that in mind, here are five of the best Yellow Wallpaper essay topics.
1. Confinement and Madness: Explore the implications of the narrator’s confinement to her bedroom, in terms of her psychological and emotional deterioration. How does her environment shape her state of mind and progress towards insanity?
2. Gender Roles: Analyze the role of gender in The Yellow Wallpaper and how it contributes to the story’s themes of subjugation and loss of autonomy. Consider the narrator’s husband and the role of male authority in the story.
3. The Symbolism of the Wallpaper: Trace the use of imagery throughout the story, and specifically examine the significance of the yellow wallpaper itself. How does the wallpaper act as a symbol and a metaphor for the narrator’s internal struggles?
4. The Role of Nature: Explore the role of nature, particularly the sea and the garden, in the story. Consider what these two very different settings tell us about the narrator’s thoughts and feelings.
5. Social Critique: Analyze what The Yellow Wallpaper has to say about societal expectations of women, and how it challenges the Victorian ideal of a woman’s place in society. Consider the protagonist’s response to the pressure to conform, and her ultimate overthrow of these expectations.
These are just a few of the many topics that can be explored through an essay on The Yellow Wallpaper. It is an incredibly powerful story, and one which holds much relevance today. If you are assigned an essay on The Yellow Wallpaper, put your own spin on one of the topics mentioned above, and you will be on your way to a great essay.