In the story "The Yellow Wallpaper" how ill does the narrator seem at the beginning and at the end of the story?

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning, the story phrases it as a "temporary nervous depression".  So, they isolate her in the country away from socializing, don't let her write, and keep in a bedroom that she absolutely hates.  At first, she is fine; she is optimistic.  2 weeks later, she is getting worse.  She mentions John being gone a lot, and that "these nervous troubles are dreadfully depressing.  John does not know how much I really suffer."  She can barely do the littlest things, and "cannot be with" her baby.  A while later after the 4th of July, she has digressed to, "I don't feel as if it was worth while to turn my hand over for anything, and I'm getting dreadfully fretful and querulous.  I cry at nothing, and cry most of the time."  It is soon after this that she describes the first of her "hallucination" of the woman behind the wall, so she is rapidly deteriorating.  In the next entry she is obsessed with the paper, "a little afraid of John" and acting paranoid towards his sister.  Finally at the end, she is completely paranoid; she's locked herself in the room, and is crawling around the edges of the walls, just like the woman in the wallpaper used to.

She starts off as being slightly nervous or depressed, and digresses to complete paranoia, hallucinatory imaginings, hostile behavior, and removal from reality.

Read the study guide:
The Yellow Wallpaper

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question