Scharnhorst, Gary. “‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’” Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Boston: Twayne, 1985. 15-20.
"Gilman's Gothic Allegory: Rape and Re-demption in 'The Yellow Wallpaper.'" Studies in Short Fiction 26 (1989): 521-30. King, Jeanette, and Pam Morris. "On Not Reading Between The Lines: Models of Reading in 'The Yellow Wallpaper.'" Studies in Short Fiction 26 (1989): 23-32.
"Gilman's Gothic Allegory: Rage and Redemption in 'The Yellow Wallpaper.'" Studies in Short Fiction 26 (1989): 521-30. Kasmer, Lisa "Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper': A Symptomatic Reading." Literature and Psychology 36.3 (1990): 1-15. MacPike, Loralee.
However, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is more than a story with a fictional character; it is the story of its creator. Gilman, as well as her heroine, suffered through postpartum depression. She not only had to fight the depression and isolation of being a mother but also the social mores of the time which did not condone career-minded mothers. Society's prime guardians of the status quo in this instance were the medical doctors who found it necessary to treat women who were less than happy in their domestic roles. In her case, the treatment was administered by Dr. S. Weir Mitchell for whom Gilman stated she wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper" (The Living of CPG 121).
In "The Yellow Wallpaper" the narrator is a young woman who has moved into a strange old mansion with her psychiatrist husband. She is confined to her room as part of her treatment for a nervous breakdown. Isolated and forbidden to express herself creatively, she becomes obsessed with the garish yellow wallpaper. She becomes convinced there are women trapped behind the hideous pattern and eventually becomes lost in her delusions trying to free them (Gilman 1-15). Charlotte Perkins Gilman originally sent her story to William Dean Howells who showed it to Atlantic Monthly editor Horace Scudder who sent it back to Gilman unpublished, saying, "I could not forgive myself if I made others as miserable as I made myself' (Shumaker 194).
“The story examines one woman’s descent into madness due to inactivity.” She also states that it examines the struggles between marriage and career, social expectations and personal goals. The story is about a woman being trapped in her marriage, she’s trying free herself. The narrator ends up going insane because she’s forbidden to write the only thing she can do is rest. The struggle between marriage and career is that John is her husband and her doctor. During the story he’s trying to cure her depression and doesn’t act much like her husband as he does her doctor.
It was her responsibility to relieve her stress and tell her story. This is a story of seclusion and escape. "The Yellow Wallpaper," being highly autobiographical for Charlotte Perkins Gilman, was written shortly after her own nervous breakdown. The story is part reality for her and part fiction focusing on the treatment that Dr. S. Weir Mitchell enforced upon her which was rest, seclusion, and absolutely no writing, which is what she loved the most. Her story is a stepping-stone in helping to understand depression, liberating women, and expression.