In "The Yellow Wallpaper," why do you think they chose this style and how fitting was it or was it not for the story?  Then related to the themes of the story, how did the style help or hinder...

In "The Yellow Wallpaper," why do you think they chose this style and how fitting was it or was it not for the story?  Then related to the themes of the story, how did the style help or hinder your understanding of the messages and what was/were they?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The text does not give an exact answer as to why the wallpaper was chosen for the room.  The room was a child's room, and the narrator speaks to the design of the wallpaper chosen for the particular room:

I never saw a worse paper in my life.   One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin.  It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide -- plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.  The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.  It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others.  No wonder the children hated it! I should hate it myself if I had to live in this room long.

It becomes clear that there was no real sense of design to choosing the wallpaper.  Based on what the narrator indicates, the family chose a wallpaper design for the children.  It might be presumed that the children themselves experienced a silencing of voice, as someone chose the wallpaper for their room.  This fact is confirmed by the narrator who says that she would "hate it" herself if she had to remain in the room. The contours and design of the wallpaper were not immediately known at the time.  It was seen as "dull" and not essentially noteworthy at the time.  However, the narrator's confinement has made her appreciate voice now more than ever.  Seeing that her own voice is being silenced, she has come to recognize this same pattern of behavior in others.  In this case, the design and focus of the wallpaper is another area where her own voice is silenced.  

Through this idea, it becomes clear that the style of the wallpaper helps to enhance the understanding of the story's messages.  The language that the narrator uses to describe the wallpaper is a reflection of her own predicament:  "...suddenly commit suicide -- plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions."  The design in the wallpaper is reflective of the "outrageous" conditions that the narrator experiences.  It also embodies the destructive "contradictions" that she experiences being locked up in the room.  The wallpaper's design and "sickly tint" is emblematic of how the narrator feels under the care of her husband, and also helps to convey how the care from her husband and her doctor are doing more damage than good.  It is through this description where it is evident that the wallpaper communicates specific elements of the story's message.

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