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The Yellow Wallpaper

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Essay title: The Yellow Wallpaper

The narrator and her physician husband, John, have rented a mansion for the summer so she can recuperate from neurasthenia. She rests in a former nursery room and is forbidden from working or writing. The spacious, sunlit room has yellow wallpaper stripped off in two places with a hideous, chaotic pattern. Two weeks later, the narrator's condition worsens; fortunately, their nanny, Mary, can take care of their baby, and John's sister, Jennie, is a perfect housekeeper. The narrator's irritation with the wallpaper grows; it sometimes looks like a figure is stuck in the pattern.

The narrator grows more anxious and depressed. The wallpaper provides her only stimulation as she studies its confusing patterns. The image of a woman stooping down and "creeping" (crawling) around clarifies each day. John denies the narrator's request to leave the house, and she does not open up to him about the wallpaper. By moonlight, she can see very clearly in the wallpaper the figure of a woman behind bars. The narrator grows paranoid that John and Jennie are interested in the wallpaper, too.

The narrator's health improves as her interest in the wallpaper deepens. She thinks the "yellow smell" of the wallpaper has spread over the house. At night, the woman‹or possibly many women‹in the wallpaper shakes the bars in the pattern as she tries to break through them. But the pattern has strangled the heads of

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