In "The Yellow Wallpaper," much of the language used to describe the narrator's experience has both a denotative and connotative function. How do the meanings of such words and phrases as "yellow," "creeping," "immovable bed," and, "outside pattern" change as they appear in different parts of the story?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The word "yellow" never really has a positive connotation in this story. The narrator describes the wallpaper as a "smouldering, unclean yellow" that revolts her. Yellow is sometimes associated with happiness (think of smiley-faces) or joy or life (like the sun), but the narrator seems to associate it with disease and decay instead. She says the paper has a "sickly sulphur tint," adding to this very negative, diseased connotation. Later in the story, she still feels this way, connecting the color to "all of the yellow things [she] ever saw -- not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow...

(The entire section contains 315 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team