The Yellow Wallpaper

Responding to the Wallpaper

"The pattern is torturing. You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well underway in following, it turns a back-somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you."

As her madness progresses the narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper becomes increasingly aware of a woman present in the pattern of the wallpaper. She sees this woman struggling against the paper's "bars". Later in her madness she imagines there to be many women lost in its "torturing" pattern, trying in vain to climb through it. The woman caught in the wallpaper seems to parallel the narrator's virtual imprisonment by her well-meaning husband. While the narrator's perception of the wallpaper reveals her increasing madness, it effectively symbolizes the struggle of women who attempt to break out of society's feminine standards.

The narrator writes furtively in her room, having to hide her writing from her family. They feel that her only road to recovery is through total R & R, that she should not have to lift a finger, let alone stimulate a single neuron in her female brain. While she appreciates their concern she feels stifled and bored. She feels that her condition is...

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