The short story begins with an exposition that introduces the setting and the main characters of the short story:

It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer. A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity – but that would be asking too much of fate! (p. 3, ll. 1-5)

The narrator’s first impression of the mansion functions as a…



As the story is structured as journal entries by the narrator the middle of the story conveys the events she notes down.

The rising action includes several key points that help to build tension. Very early on, the story foreshadows plot details: “The paint and paper look as if a boys' school had used it. It is stripped off - the paper – in great patches all around the head of my bed, about as far as I can reach” (ll. 8-10). The detail about the scratched wallpaper foreshadows the narrator tearing it at the end of the story.

The reference to a baby functions as a backstory on the narrator: “It is fortunate Mary is so good with the baby. Such a dear baby! And yet I cannot be with him, it makes me so nervous” (p. 6, ll. 4-5). In this way, the story suggests that the woman has recently given birth and that she might be suffering from post-partum depres…



Unlike the rising action which is fairly long and detailed, the falling action and the resolution are compressed in two short sentences. In the falling action, the husband faints out of shock: “Now why should that man have fainted?” (p. 17, l. 22)

The resolution shows the narrator creeping around the room despite her husband’s faint: “But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time!” (p. 17, ll. 22-23)

The resol…

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