Depression or Oppression: "The Yellow Wallpaper" by C.P. Gilman

In this lesson students research women's issues in the early 20th century and the attitude toward and treatment of mental illnesses then and now. The research complements the reading of "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Research provides the basis for a persuasive essay.  A rubric is included. 

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3003.3.1
Write in a variety of modes, with particular emphasis on persuasion, for different purposes and audiences.
CLE 3003.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with a thesis statement in the introduction, well-constructed paragraphs, a conclusion, and transition sentences that connect...
CLE 3003.4.2
Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.
CLE 3003.8.1
Demonstrate knowledge of significant works of American literature from the colonial period to the present and make relevant comparisons.
CLE 3003.8.4
Analyze works of American literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written.
GLE 0501.8.3
Understand the basic characteristics of the genres (e.g., narratives, prose, poetry, drama) studied.
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Learning objectives: 
  • Students will research women's issues of the early 20th century (the setting of the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper").
  • Students will analyze the story as it relates to the author's life.
  • Students will analyze the connections between the researched women's issues and mental illness.
  • Students will research how various mental illnesses were treated during the early 20th century.
  • Students will write a persuasive essay using the completed research.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 

Helpful Hints

Materials and Technology:

  • Copies of the short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper," by C. P. Gilman.
  • Computers with Internet access
  • Printer