What do we know about the baby in "The Yellow Wallpaper"?

Expert Answers

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

We don't know much about the narrator's baby, but it plays a very important symbolic role in the story, nonetheless. It's instructive in this regard that the unnamed woman has been forced to convalesce in a room that had originally been set aside as a nursery. This drives home the point that the woman is being infantilized by her husband, treated like a small child rather than the grown woman she is. In her present condition, the narrator is little more than a helpless baby, utterly dependent on her physician husband for emotional support. However, such support is not forthcoming, and so the narrator is as vulnerable as a baby who's been left to fend for itself.

The baby also serves to heighten the narrator's separation from the world around her, making her more prone to descending into a world of pure fantasy. Physically separated from her newborn child, who's being taken care of by a nanny, the narrator has been deprived of any connection to reality. The birth of a child, which should...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 923 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
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on