Themes in The Yellow Wallpaper
Gilman draws on motifs from Gothic literature, a popular genre in the 1800s, in her description of the “strange,” isolated, haunted-seeming mansion, with its ruined greenhouses, abandoned servants’ cottages, extensive gardens, and mysterious past. Gothic tales often revolved around a troubled heroine narrating her own story while imprisoned in just such a setting.
One of the major themes of "The Yellow Wallpaper" is silence and the way that women's voices are silenced. There's no medical reason for the narrator not to be allowed to write, but her husband doesn't like it because he is, by all accounts, very controlling and doesn't want her voice to be heard.