The Yellow Wallpaper

This week in Mr. Polen’s AP English Literature class the students were preparing and performing skits and live analysis of a short story named “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It’s a first person short story about a woman by the name of Jane who has a physician husband named John. She is mentally ill and wants to get out and be active. Her husband says she has overworked her mind and prescribes her “The Resting Cure”. This was a common form of treatment for women in the late 18oos. It was a method of keeping people out of asylums but some say the cure was worse. People given the resting cure were told to rest and be isolated from people for six to eight weeks. They were prohibited from any activities including talking, sewing, and reading or writing. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” Jane stay cooped up in her room away from others and secretly writes about her mental state and thoughts in a journal that she hides when her husband enters the room. She soon goes crazy imagining there is a woman stuck behind her wall of yellow wallpaper. She soon begins pacing and crawling about the room and peeling wallpaper off the walls.

Maria Roslaes and Kelby Ubelhor performing their skit
Maria Rosales and Kelby Ubelhor performing their skit

Students analyzed and explained literary terms associated with this short story including symbol, irony, and characterization. Each group had a chance to explain their literary term and how it fits with “The Yellow Wallpaper”. Students could choose to perform their skit in costume with props and then analyze after or stop at certain points during the performance and explain what was going on. Some students brought onesies, dresses, sheets, and their scripts. Some groups even went to the length of making a full video of their segment. The classes had a great time and were able to delve deeper into their assignment through their humorous expression.


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