Why do you think the narrator becomes so obsessed with the wallpaper in "The Yellow Wallpaper"?(Think About) The description of the patterns and colors The amount of the time she spends in the...

Why do you think the narrator becomes so obsessed with the wallpaper in "The Yellow Wallpaper"?

(Think About)

The description of the patterns and colors

The amount of the time she spends in the room

The changes the narrator finds in the wallpaper

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator of "The Yellow Wallpaper" is suffering from post-partum depression and is ordered to stay in bed and rest as treatment.  She is not allowed to read or write and is left alone for long periods of time.  She is not even allowed to see her new baby.

She basically is forced to stare at the walls, as the cliche goes.  She is a woman of imagination, and denied of any outlet, her imagination begins to transform the elaborate pattern of the wallpaper.  She stares at the pattern and traces it with her vision and follows its built-in trails, as she sees them.  Soon she sees a woman trapped behind bars trying to escape.  Of course, this is emblematic of her own situation.  It's implied, of course, that her own "incarceration" is transferred into the wallpaper.

Eventually, she becomes obsessed with the woman in the wallpaper, and tries to let her out by tearing the wallpaper down, but fails.  When she can't free the woman, she becomes the woman. 

mkcapen1 | Student

"The paint and paper look as if a boys' school had used it. "        

"One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin."

"There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down."

"Up and down and sideways they crawl, and those absurd, unblinking eyes are everywhere There is one place where two breaths didn't match, and the eyes go all up and down the line, one a little higher than the other."

 The wall-paper, as I said before, is torn off in spots,

The narrator is a female whose husband and doctor are controlling her to the point that she is slowly going mad.  She watches the yellow wallpaper everyday.  It is torn off in spots and irritates her.  The wallpaper pattern is not described so much as her perception of how she sees it as being almost a living thing.

As her stay in the room progress over the summer, her mental health deteriorates.  She sees the wallpaper growing like a fungus.

"The outside pattern is a florid arabesque, reminding one of a fungus."

The woman spends almost everyday in bed in the room.  She and her husband are in the house for three months.

" Still, I don't wonder he acts so, sleeping under this paper for three months."

thewanderlust878 | Student

The Yellow Wallpaper is a wonderful, dark story about a woman who sits, silently, staring at yellow wallpaper. On the surface it seems a bit silly, and that perhaps the woman has gone completely mad, but I believe that as she is staring at the wallpaper, she is conveying one of the author's messages. Meaning, the author uses the wallpaper to show how women were treated back then, stuck in a pattern that society stuck them in. By having the woman staring at the wallpaper, it can be inferred that the woman wishes to escape from the pattern she has been put in, and that escape would be bliss. 

roopz10 | Student

The narrator , i feel , becomes more and more intrigued and obsessed by the wallpaper because she has no one to share her thoughts and feelings with so she uses the wallpaper as a medium of comfort. I think that due to the fact that she is ostracized from society because of her post-partum syndrome and left alone all day and sometimes all night that the wallpaper was her only "companion". The ostentatious designs did also catch her attention at the beginning of the story when she first lays her eyes on the wallpaper. this may be  why she is so obsessed with a flamnoyant yellow wallpaper.

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The Yellow Wallpaper

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