Creeping into freedom: woman’s body in “The yellow wallpaper”, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Leticia Rocha Duarte, Cynthia Beatrice Costa


Even though the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892), by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, has received much attention, especially from feminist literary criticism, there have been relatively few considerations on the main character’s body and on how it relates to her ordeal under patriarchal repression. By examining the physical aspect of the narrator’s experience, this article investigates two main hypotheses: (1) that the narrator’s body is controlled as a means of controlling her mind, but this fails when she uses her mind to free her body; and (2) that the “creeping” movement obsessively mentioned by the narrator can be interpreted as a subversion. This second proposition counterpoints the notion that the narrator’s descent into madness is proof of male triumph over female freedom.


woman’s body; feminist literary criticism; patriarchal repression; creep; The Yellow

Texto completo:

PDF (English)



COLLINS, Joseph. “Lunatics of Literature.” The North American Review, v. 218, n. 814, 1923, p. 376–387. Available on: Accessed 4 July 2020.

CORBIN, Alain; COURTINE, Jean-Jacques; VIGARELLO, Georges. História do corpo – 1. Da Renascença às Luzes. [Volume dirigido por Georges Vigarello]. Trad. Ephraim Ferreira Alves. Petrópolis (RJ): Vozes, 2008.

DAVISON, Carol Margaret. Haunted House/ Haunted Heroine: Female Gothic Closets in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’”. Women’s Studies, v. 33, n. 1, 2004. p. 47-75.

DE SIMONE, Deborah M. Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Feminization of Education. WILLA, v. 4, Fall 1995. Available on: Accessed 7 July 2020.

DUARTE, Leticia Rocha. A Educação Física como linguagem. Revista Motriz, v. 16, n. 2, abr./jun. Rio Claro (SP): Unesp, 2010.

FOUCAULT, Michel. Discipline and Punish: the birth of the prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books, 1995.

FOUCAULT, Michel. The History of Sexuality – Volume I: An Introduction. Translated by Robert Hurley. New York: Vintage Books, 1990.

FUNCK, Susana Bornéo. Feminismo e utopia. Revista Estudos Feministas, v.1, n.1, p. 33-48. Florianópolis: Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, 1993. Available on: Accessed 7 July 2020.

GILMAN, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. London: Virago, 2012.

HEDDES, Elaine R. Afterward. In GILMAN, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. London: Virago, 2012. p. 33-50.

JOHNSON, Greg. Gilman’s Gothic Allegory: Rage and Redemption in The Yellow Wallpaper. Studies in Short Fiction, v. 26, n. 4, 1989, p. 521-530.

KING, Jeanette; MORRIS, Pam. On Not Reading Between the Lines: Models of Reading in ‘The Yellow Wall-paper’. Studies in Short Fiction, v. 26, n. 1, 1989, p. 23–32.

LANSER, Susan S. Jane Eyre’s Legacy: The Powers and Dangers of Singularity. In: ______. Fictions of Authority: Women Writers and Narrative Voice. Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press, 1992. p. 176-193. Available on: Accessed 4 July 2020.

LANSER, Susan S. “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and the Politics of Color in America. Feminist Studies, v. 15, n. 3, Autumn 1989, p. 415-441.

LLOYD, Brian. Feminism, Utopian and Scientific: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Prison of the Familiar. American Studies, v. 39, n. 1, 1998, p. 93-113. Available on: Accessed 2 July 2020.

McNAY, Lois. Foucault and Feminism: Power, Gender and the Self. Cambridge: Polity/Blackwell, 2007.

MONTEIRO, George. Context, intention, and purpose in “The Yellow Wall-paper”: a tale in the Poe and the Romantic tradition. Fragmentos, v. 17, p. 41-54. Florianópolis: Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, 1999. Available on: Accessed 7 July 2020.

PASCO, Allan H. Crazy Writing and Reliable Text. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: a dual-text critical edition. Athens (OH): Ohio University Press, 2006. p. 88–99.

SCHROEDER, Joy A. (translated and edited by). The Book of Genesis. Grand Rapids (Michigan)/Cambridge (UK): William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015.

SIEGEL, Jennifer Semple. Charlotte Perkins (Stetson) Gilman's “The Yellow Wallpaper”: Fiction “with a Purpose” and the Need to Know the Real Story. CEA Critic 59, n. 3, 1997, p. 44-57. Available on: Accessed 9 July 2020.

SOUSA, Fátima. Essencialismo e construcionismo na ficção utópica de Charlotte Perkins Gilman: “Herland” e “With Her in Ourland”. Via Panorâmica: Revista Electrónica de Estudos Anglo-Americanos /An Anglo-American Studies Journal, 2ª ser. 1, 2008. Available on: Accessed 4 July 2020.

THRAILKILL, Jane F. Doctoring "The Yellow Wallpaper". ELH 69, n. 2, 2002, p. 525-66. Available on: Accessed 9 July 2020.

TIBURI, Marcia. Apresentação. In O papel de parede amarelo – Um clássico da literatura feminista. Trad. Diogo Henriques. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 2016. p. 5-9.

TOMLINSON, Niles. Creeping in the “Mere”: Catagenesis in Poe’s “Black Cat” and Gilman’s “Yellow Wallpaper”. A Journal of the American Renaissance, v. 56, n. 3, 2010, p. 232-268. Available on: Accessed 4 July 2020.

TOWNER, W. Sibley. Genesis (Westminster Bible Companion). Louisville/London/Leiden: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001.

VEEDER, William. Who is Jane? The Intricate Feminism of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Arizona Quarterly: a Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory, v. 44, n. 3, Autumn 1988, p. 40-79.


Licença Creative Commons
Esta obra está licenciada sob uma licença Creative Commons Atribuição 4.0 Internacional.

Editor-chefe: Professor Doutor Andre Rezende Benatti

ISSN: 2179-4456