Tag Archives: The Yellow Wallpaper

Faces in the Wallpaper


Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s effect on the art world

“The Yellow Wallpaper” has had it’s influence in the literary world, any Grade B literature course will tell you of that (and any GRADE A literature class’ll show you how it’s behind every wallpaper of every other story as well). {link}

It’s had its affects on the Psychological world. {link}

It’s even had its pull in the world of feminism. {link}

And after a little browsing on Pinterest, I’ve found that the 6,000 word short story has even made its impression on the art world.

It all started with this pic here, which reminded me of the short story. Even with the lack of yellow, the story was still pulled to the forefront of my mind upon seeing it, though it may have been the ghost of a face behind the wallpaper that did the trick. But the picture posits the question: is the character here trying to escape the wallpaper or wrap themselves in it? One could, then, further ask, which exactly is the narrator attempting in the “Yellow Wallpaper” when she scratches and claws at that horrid paper?

Even more fascinating, I found many other pinners that saw “The Yellow Wallpaper” in works that possibly weren’t inspired by the story, like this pin of an antique bedroom which looks to be scattered with broken dishes, or maybe vases. The empty but destroyed room could bring about thoughts of someone having been locked in, and the broken dishes and unmade bed could be a feministic protest, which Gilman was certainly famous for, possibly explaining the comparison.

On the other hand, I found many artists directly inspired by the story, like this such piece entitled “The Yellow Wallpaper”. The wallpaper looks yellow-ed, the color of age, (which the artist achieved through coffee stains, neat!), and the pattern is as intricate as Gilman laboriously described.

“There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.” With such vivid and imaginative descriptions as this one it is really no wonder that artists would be influenced by Gilman’s story.

What’s more, we mustn’t forget that art can tell a story, just as a story can paint a picture, and I do believe this one tells the story of “The Yellow Wallpaper” very well. The acrobatic women appear to be controlled and entangled by the strings of the keys while one key is held by an authoritative hand. The hand’s grip is loose, however, and the shadow in the foreground appears to be gathering some slack.

And finally, here is a collision of both the literary and artistic worlds!