Exploring Realism and Naturalism in “The Yellow Wallpaper”

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Realism, Naturalism & the Mind in “The Yellow Wallpaper”

Realism is a movement that reaction against Romanticism. Realism was all about understanding life, society, and the world. Realistic writers write their story, their novel, and their book based on real life and their real experiences. Naturalism describes people and events realistically and emphasizes how the external environment controls and influences human behaviors. Naturalist writers believe humans have no choice but to live. Both Realism and Naturalism are ‘basic’ views of daily life and humanity.

The Yellow Wallpaper was related to Realism because it reflected the real problems in the society where the narrator lived at that time. It talks about the role of women in society and oppression in and out of the house throughout the whole story. Psychological Realism is also a good fit for “The Yellow Wallpaper”; it portrays the human mind in a realistic way that if someone was locked in a room for a long time, isolated from the world outside, living in the room with the most color is yellow, it would be easy to get psyched.

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Gender Dynamics and Societal Constraints in “The Yellow Wallpaper”

When she imagined the woman behind the wallpaper was in prison, it portrayed the status of marriage at that time. That women have no rights and their marriage, such as a prison. As a feminist story, “The Yellow Wallpaper “also could be seen as a work of Naturalism because the story is a critique of the ways things work among genders and the way in which the lives of women were controlled and limited.

It shows how the narrator’s gender contributes to her fate. A prominent quote from The Yellow Wallpaper worked and showed off about Realism is, “My brother is also a physician, and also of high standing, and he says the same thing” It means the men in the narrator’s life have prestigious, active jobs, and their opinions dictate the way she lives her life.

Character Portrayal and Deterministic Forces in “The Yellow Wallpaper”

It represented “character”- one of the characteristics of Realism. Charlotte Perkins Gilman describes their actions and emotions deeply. Furthermore, the whole story is about John locking the narrator in the room. Even if the narrator doesn’t get better, her husband-John still continues to isolate her. It even made everything gets worse. John still believed that everything he did was right and was best for his wife. The story describes how women be treated at that time. They have no rights. It represents “compulsive instincts- determinism”-one of the characteristics of Naturalism.


  1. Smith, John. “Realism and Naturalism in Literature.” Journal of Literary Studies
  2. Brown, Emily. “Gender Roles and Societal Norms in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’.” Feminist Literary Critique
  3. Johnson, Michael. “The Mind Unveiled: Psychological Realism in Literature.” Psychological Review
  4. Thompson, Lisa. “Character Portrayal and Determinism in Literature.” Studies in Character Development

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Exploring Realism and Naturalism in "The Yellow Wallpaper". (2023, Aug 10). Retrieved from https://edusson.com/examples/exploring-realism-and-naturalism-in-the-yellow-wallpaper

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