The Yellow Wallpaper Character Evolution

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for The Yellow Wall-paper

Character Evolution in The Yellow Wall-paper


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Activity Overview

While the narrator arrives at the summer house already suffering from symptoms of mental illness, her descent into madness is traced in her diary. Use the activity for Character Evolution with your students to help them keep track of how the narrator evolves throughout the course of the story.


Narrator's Traits: A woman; recently gave birth; married to a physician; suffering from “temporary nervous depression”

Explanation:The narrator’s husband has rented the colonial mansion as a summer house so that his wife can rest, get exercise, and not work until her condition improves. The narrator thinks sometimes that less isolation would help her feel better, but her husband won’t hear of it. She writes her feelings in secret.

Conflict/Rising Action

Narrator's Traits: Unreasonably angry; lacking control of emotions; lacks strength; feels like a burden

Explanation: The narrator feels like a burden because her husband John believes that there is no reason for why she should feel so ill or nervous. She cannot bear to be around her new baby, and is becoming increasingly perturbed by the yellow wallpaper in their bedroom.


Narrator's Traits: Feigns sleep; feels afraid of John; becoming increasingly paranoid

Explanation: The narrator studies the yellow wallpaper daily, and is convinced that there is a woman living behind it. John is gone a lot, but when he is home, he seems to be studying both her and the wallpaper, which is aggravating and frightening to the narrator. She sees Jennie staring at the paper, too, and she is determined to not let anyone but herself figure out the secrets of the pattern.

Falling Action

Narrator's Traits: Excited; eating better; shows improvement; sleeps during the day; stays up at night

Explanation: The narrator is fascinated by the developments in the wallpaper, and it gives her something to look forward to each day. She has renewed energy as she believes she is coming closer to discovering the secrets of the wallpaper, and the freeing of the woman behind it.


Narrator's Traits: Energized; manic; angry; victorious

Explanation: The narrator’s descent into madness is complete as she tears off the wallpaper, and she believes that she is now the woman whom she has freed from behind it. She creeps around the room and right over her husband’s body, who has fainted, and she feels delighted at being able to move about the room in the yellow colors.

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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows the evolution of the narrator throughout the course of “The Yellow Wallpaper”.

  1. Use the Character Evolution Template to get started.
  2. Break the story down into Exposition, Conflict/Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. What traits does the narrator have?
  3. Illustrate one or more of the traits for each stage of the story.
  4. Identify major events in each part of the story that affected the narrator.

Character Evolution Template - Novel/Story


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The Yellow Wall-paper

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