We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper


by Charlotte Perkins Gilman


Character Role Analysis

John, and the rest of patriarchal society

On the face of it, John is the primary obstacle standing in the way of the narrator’s desires to pick her own bedroom, spend her time writing, and hang out with friends. He tells her where to sleep, what medicines to take, whom she can hang out with, and even whether her health is improving. To pin John down as the bad guy, however, would be to miss an important component of the story. The narrator’s brother holds many of the same opinions as John, and one of the narrator’s female friends also receives poor medical treatment at the hands of a male doctor. To shorten matters, although John may represent the greatest antagonist within this story, he serves as an embodiment of greater antagonistic societal forces.