What exactly is the yellow-wallpaper Gilman writes about in her famous story? Is it the canvas on which the woman’s madness is painted? Does its pattern represent the inner workings of a mind plagued by insanity? Or is it the quite literally a wallpaper , meant to hide the ugly walls of her physical and psychological prison with corroded niceness? A case could almost certainly be made for any and many more of these interpretations. They are however, much too deep to discuss for my current state of mind so I will probe something simpler. The reason for why the wallpaper is actually something we all relate too (yes! You too, don’t lie).
We all have a yellow wallpaper in our lives. Mine is currently an ominous floor stain left by the previous tenant of my room right on my bed’s doorstep. It irks me with its mysterious nature every day when I’m getting up and again when going to bed. I’ve found myself staring at it more than once already. Am I going insane like the woman in the story, it is up for debate really, but I don’t think so. Think about it, how many times have you been annoyed by something completely unreasonable that looms in an oft forgotten corner of your daily life. It might be the door that doesn’t completely shut, or the step on the stair that makes an awful noise every time someone steps on it. Sometimes you just feel like ripping off that door and pulverizing that step. You don’t. Yet, we can understand someone that actually does. There are a myriad profound interpretations of the wallpaper’s effect on the woman. Gilman progresses the wallpapers effect superbly describing the progression of perception. You relate because you’ve noticed too, your wallpaper becomes more and more familiar to you as well. The pattern Gilman follows is common to us all. Everyday things can affect you to an unreasonable but powerful degree. We understand the woman even at the most basic level of simple annoyance and can therefore feel the pain of her insanity.