The Yellow Wallpaper Questions and Answers
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper book cover
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How do we know the narrator's name is Jane in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"?  

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javasquez eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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We actually don’t know know if the narrator’s name in “The Yellow Wallpaper” is Jane. In fact, most reprints of the text include a footnote toward the end of the story when the name appears. The footnote informs readers that “Jane” might be Jenny, the husband’s sister who is also a character in the story. Experts claim that it could be a typo by an early publisher. That seems reasonable. But, there’s nothing at all interesting about that explanation.

Most readers—and teachers—prefer to think that “Jane” is indeed the name of the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper.” This is based on some key evidence from the story. First, the narrator is unnamed throughout, which is not an uncommon choice for a story in first-person point of view, but a narrator with no name intrigues the reader. Thus, when we read the name “Jane” at the end, we logically conclude it’s the narrator herself.

To answer the question completely, we must establish some symbolic meaning first....

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Cleveland Goodman eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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