In "The Yellow Wallpaper" what does this image suggest about the wallpaper and narrator?"But in the places where it isn't faded and where the sun is just so - I can see a strange , provoking ,...

In "The Yellow Wallpaper" what does this image suggest about the wallpaper and narrator?

"But in the places where it isn't faded and where the sun is just so - I can see a strange , provoking , formless sort of figure , that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design."

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The image suggests about the wallpaper that it is an intricate design, one of those that can, if you look at it long enough, seem to represent different shapes and figures.  The image suggests about the narrator the beginning of what will become an even more intense obsession, and a symbolic representation of her own feelings of entrapment.  She starts here by thinking that she sees a figure skulking about behind the pattern.  Pretty soon that figure morphs and becomes more real to her; she imagines it is a woman, trapped in the wallpaper.  This is representative of how she herself feels trapped in her circumstances:  a good-intentioned but nonetheless overbearing husband, instructions to rest, isolation from society, not being allowed to work, barely seeing her child, and all of her concerns being down-played and pooh-poohed as childish and bothersome.  So what starts out as just interpreting a crazy pattern on wallpaper becomes a full-blown manifestation of her repressed self; in the end, she and the woman in the wallpaper have become one and the same, and it is she that is skulking about the room along the edges of the wall.

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The Yellow Wallpaper

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