The Yellow Wallpaper Questions and Answers
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper book cover
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What does the ending of the story "The Yellow Wallpaper" suggest about the woman behind the wallpaper?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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On a feminist reading, one could say that the ending of the story suggests that the unnamed narrator has so identified with the struggling woman behind the wallpaper that she has come to identify herself with the condition of women as a whole.

The woman in the wallpaper, desperately trying to escape from the bars that imprison her, represents the plight of women in a patriarchal society. The unnamed narrator, patronized and belittled by her husband and confined to a small bedroom, has come to identify with the struggle of her sisters as they are stifled and constrained in their daily lives by the patriarchy.

But as the narrator lives at a time when there is no real outlet for respectable middle-class women to express their frustrations, she goes out of her mind, blurring the distinction between herself and the woman in the yellow wallpaper. Indeed, in some respects, the woman in the wallpaper is the narrator, albeit a projection of her tortured psyche.

The narrator's terrible realization...

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