The Yellow Wallpaper and who is Jane?

I really enjoyed reading The Yellow Wallpaper since there are so many things going on. It made me think about the narrator and question her sanity. That is not usually something I do when reading. Narrators are almost always trusted and their mental capabilities are not questioned. I can only think of The Penelopiad, or even Until the Dawn’s Light (if you take the book to be Blanca’s journal) as other books where the narrator is suspicious.
I also liked the format of the story and how it is happening in ‘real’ time. The stops in her writing and comments on what she is doing make the story seem very realistic. At one point she even says she is “sitting by the window now”, creating an instant mental picture of the writer in real time. This also made me think about the act of writing, since you literally envision the protagonist of the story writing the story. I thought about what writing does for her health and what it might mean also for the actual author Gilman.
Finally, what intrigued me the most was the last paragraph where she says: ‘I’ve got out at last, in spite of you and Jane.” The name or character of Jane is never mentioned in the story so this made me think that this is the woman in the wallpaper speaking. Jane is the protagonist of the story. If you interpret the story in this way, it’s really creepy because the woman in the wallpaper comes to life and actually speaks. It also made me question if the woman in the wallpaper narrates the story at other points or if they are the same person all along. Regardless, it was quite thrilling to hear the voice of the woman in the wallpaper, affirming she is real and that mental disorders are real.

2 Thoughts.

  1. Yes, I find that last bit extremely intriguing as well! By her saying “I got out,” that does indicate that it’s the woman in the wallpaper. But then again, I wonder if we might interpret it as the narrator of the story somehow becoming that woman; or rather, if the woman in the wallpaper was always a product of the imagination of the narrator (which is how I took it, at least), then the woman in the wallpaper was the narrator in a sense all along. Perhaps she projected her own situation onto this character of a woman trapped in wallpaper? I’m still thinking about my own interpretation of this story. I really like your point about looking to see if the woman in the wallpaper perhaps narrates at other times as well. I hadn’t thought of that, and will be looking for it as I re-read for class tomorrow!

  2. i liked the real-time effect of the narration as well. It definitely brings the reader closer to the protagonist, and somehow makes the situation in the story more vivid- like a horror movie filmed from a first-person point of view

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