The Yellow Wallpaper
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Yellow Wallpaper Freedom and Confinement Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Section.Paragraph)
At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be. (6.10)
As the narrator later identifies with the woman trapped in the wallpaper, we understand that her subconscious is more aware of her imprisonment than her conscious mind, which continues to believe that John wants the best for her.
Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over. […]
And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern--it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads. (9.4 – 9.6)
This passage demonstrates the intersection of confinement and gender – the narrator sometimes sees many, many women imprisoned by the pattern.
"I've got out at last," said I, "in spite of you and Jane. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!" (12.49)
Notice how she identifies herself with the trapped woman in the wallpaper. The narrator believes that she has freed herself. What do you think? Is this really freedom? Also, see "Names" in "Tools of Characterization" for a discussion of who this Jane character might be.