Style of writing

The language in “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, while being easy to understand, also seems occasionally old-fashioned today and is typical of the 19th century.

The sentences vary in length across the course of the story, reflecting the narrator’s progressing psychological distress. At the beginning of the story, the sentences are longer and more detailed including calm descriptions of the setting: “There is a delicious garden! I never saw such a garden - large and shady, full of box-bordered paths, and lined with long grape-covered arbors with seats under them.” (p. 4, ll. 16-18)

Like in the above example, some longer sentences are fragmented, perhaps as another technique to foreshadow the gradual degradation of the character. Towards the end of the story, however, the sentences are shorter; they express the decaying mental state of the protagonist. The prose changes to sound more urgent and to convey the idea of secrecy: “But I must get to work. I have locked the door and thrown the key down into the front path.” (p. 16, ll. 9-11)

Interjections and exclamations help give more dynamism to the text: “Hurrah! This is the last day, but it is enough” (p. 15, l. 19). They suggest how the character feels.

Notice also that certain words are written in italics, which adds emphasis and draw attention to what the narrator really thinks: “…perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster.” (p. 3, ll. 17); “This paper looks to me as if it...

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