What does the woman behind the wallpaper represent, and why does the narrator come to identify with her in "The Yellow Wallpaper"?

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The woman the narrator thinks she sees creeping behind the undulations in the yellow wallpaper is herself. As the narrator decomposes into madness, she identifies with the woman behind the wallpaper because that is now the only way she can understand herself and her own desires:

The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out.

It is the narrator herself who wants to get out of the room in which she is imprisoned.

The narrator, however, still persists in trying to talk to John, her husband, about her needs, saying to him that she:

really was not gaining here, and that I wished he would take me away.

John continues to ignore her and increasingly treats her as a child. He can't see the evidence that she is not getting better but, instead, is being driven deeper into madness by the treatment.

The narrator perceives the woman she detects behind the wallpaper as being strangled by the hideous pattern of it and wanting to escape. The narrator says that release...

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