Now that you've finished both "The Yellow Wallpaper," it's time to discuss your understanding of the story's conclusion.

Many critics disagree about how to read the story's ending. Some see the narrator as a heroine who breaks free of her oppression; others see her as a woman who simply loses her mind. The final few lines from the story, shown below, have been interpreted in various ways.

"'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!' Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time."


What do you think happens at the end of the story? Post a message addressing one or more of the following sets of questions:
  • What evidence do you have to support whether or not the narrator goes crazy at the end of the story? Who do you think Jane is (the first reference to her appears in the final two lines of the story)?
  • Does the narrator succeed in rebelling against her husband because he faints, and she walks over him? Does she escape his constraint? Do you think she'll be free of societal restrictions now or encounter more restrictions?


Don't forget to respond to one of your classmates' posts!
Tristan Rude
4/1/2013 10:02:43 am

2) The narrator does succeed in rebelling, although she didn't mean to rebel until she went crazy. She went insane, and her insanity gave her an illusion of being restrained which she fought to break free from. She will be constrained even more by both her husband and society, they will most likely lock her away and she will live in a small room by herself for the rest of her life.

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Carley
4/7/2013 01:08:53 pm

I never thought about it like this, I always assumed that Jane had some sort of dream or hope to be free before the insanity set in.

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Mackenzie
4/1/2013 10:06:06 am

I believe that the narrator succeeds in rebelling against her husband. When she says "so you can't put me back!" she is showing him that she has escaped and won't be ruled by him anymore. She is being defiant by freeing herself of the constraints her husband has on her. She crawls over him to show that she doesn't care and that she has the power to overcome his dominance over her. I also believe that other people in society will think she is crazy and this will cause her even more societal restraints.

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4/2/2013 01:49:51 pm

Good thoughts. I thought your observation of how she is defiant was well justified. But do you think that she means to be defiant? Was she escaping from her husband's constraints when she "got out of" the wallpaper, or something else?

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Tristan Rude
4/4/2013 03:12:33 pm

I like how you applied the crawling over her husband. I didn't think of it that way. I wonder though, if she really escaped her husband as you said. She never was ale to get away from him or his influence.

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Sam Farmer
4/8/2013 08:19:33 am

I thought she was going crazy, but your point of view helped me be open minded. I can see how she is rebelling against her husband. Maybe she was just writing about the wallpaper to show readers how she feels. The wall paper could be a metaphor for her life.

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4/2/2013 01:45:14 pm

1. There is much that leads up to the narrator's apparent mental collapse. Her condition changes very subtlely, and only towards the end does the reader recognize that she has changed. This is especially noticeable as the way she sees the wallpaper and the people around her becomes different. Eventually, however, the reader can see that the narrator's actions become crazed: she pulls off wallpaper in yards, bites at the bed, locks herself in and hides the key, etc. In addition, the woman who she thinks she sees in the wallpaper becomes gradually more and more real to her as is clear when she says, "I pulled and she shook, I shook and she pulled, and before morning we had peeled off yards of that paper." As the woman in the wallpaper becomes more clear, the line between the narrator and the woman grows fuzzier and fuzzier, until at last the narrator doesn't seem to distinguish herself from the woman. In other words, the narrator loses herself, and in her mind becomes the woman in the wallpaper. The Jane she refers to, then, at the end of the story is actually herself, while she sees herself as having come out of the wallpaper. Jane (herself) had been conforming to society and society's expectations, especially concerning her supposed condition (hysteria), thus keeping "herself" in the wallpaper. This is why she says at the end, "I've got out at last...in spite of you and Jane."

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Emily
4/7/2013 10:48:33 am

1) Evidence that the narrator is going insane at the end of the story is that she starts tearing off the wallpaper and chewing on the furniture. She also has a rope to tie up the woman she thinks is in the walls, so you know it's not just a story she uses to entertain herself about the wallpaper anymore, she believes that the woman would actually creep out of the walls. The narrator also says that the woman is pulling with her to help tear down the wallpaper. I think Jane is the narrator's name, but that her insanity has driven her into another personality, so she has gotten out in spite of herself.

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Kendall
4/7/2013 01:37:23 pm

i completely agree Emily, these are some really good points as to why she is going insane. When she starting chewing on her bed, and saying the women was helping her pull on the wall i knew for sure she was insane.

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Trevor
4/7/2013 07:00:23 pm

I really like your idea that the narrator is disconnected from her body. I think that her insanity has caused her mind to try to drive itself out of her body.

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Carley Crow
4/7/2013 01:06:52 pm

The narrator does successfully rebel against her husband. However, it does not seem like rebellion was the main goal in mind. Jane just wanted to be free of the constraint she was put into and being locked in a room for so long helped her inner desires take over the rational side of her. In the end of the short story, it was not Jane, but it was her deepest hopes to be free that controlled her physical body, for she says, “I've got out at last, in spite of you and Jane.” By “going crazy”, Jane not only rebelled against her husband and the society's idea of the cure for a “perfect housewife”, but she was able to free herself of the control that society and men had over women. In a way, the rebellion is the final step of Jane's plan to be a truly free woman. Once more people find out about Jane's new personality, she will face many more restrictions because no one will want to take the time to understand why Jane changed, so as a result, she will most likely be locked up in some sort of asylum and people won't be able to look at her as a normal human being.

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Ariana
4/7/2013 04:30:52 pm

I completely agree on how the rebellion was not her main goal but that it came anyways. I like how you brought up that she rebelled not only against her husband but also against society.

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Mika
4/7/2013 05:01:19 pm

I agree with you that she was not just rebelling against bing trapped physically, but also mentally.

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Kendall Maslen
4/7/2013 01:34:58 pm

I think the narrator does succeed in rebelling against her husband. At the end of the story the narrator says, "I've got out at last, in spite of you and Jane. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!" Here the narrator is clearly stating that she will no longer be bond by her husbands constraints. She has freed herself and will never again be controlled by another, "so you can't put me back." in spite of her new fond freedom I do not believe she will be from societal constraints because I think society will see her as insane and therefore enforce more constraint upon her.

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Brady
4/8/2013 02:57:26 pm

I agree that she won't escape society constraints after leaving. If anything, people will see her as more insane and put more constraint on her because she rebelled. They will see it as unnatural.

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Ariana Dougall
4/7/2013 04:28:46 pm

The narrator does succeed in rebelling against her husband although this might have not been her goal all along. The narrator just wanted to be free and not under control of her husband; doing this caused the rebelling against her husband. The narrator says, "I've got out at last, in spite of you and Jane. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!" Here the narrator is explaining how she has freed herself and is no longer under control of her husband, or is placed in the typical " housewife" category by society. I think because of her actions society will label and stereotype her even more, but this time as crazy and insane.

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Mika
4/7/2013 04:57:14 pm

The narrator has only been in the company of her husband, Jennie and her self during her confinement. Knowing this, Jane could possibly be Jennie, as names are very alike, but I think Jane is most likely her rational self. In front of her husband, she acts acts like she is getting better, she eats properly, and she basically pretends that she is normal, but when he leaves she gives in to her paranoia and hallucinations.When she says, "in spite of you and Jane," she is referring to the plain, perfect perfect wife and mother she is suppose to be. Though she reveals she has the ability to not be crazy, she still stares at that yellow wallpaper and lets her mind run on. She hallucinates of a woman behind the wallpaper and many faces staring at her as we realize she has definitely lost it. At the end, I believe she is both simply crazy and making a statement on feminism and all that stuff (since she does not want to be controlled by her husband, as she has gotten out at last despite him and Jane and all the same reasons why she speaks about herself like i said before, wich lead you to the end of this paragraph and the beginning again in a never ending cycle.)

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Mary Sine
4/7/2013 05:42:11 pm

I had never thought of Jane possibly being the narrator herself. It does make sense though, that she is also rebelling against society's idea of a perfect wife, or a woman's place in society. Great job.

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Lacayah
4/7/2013 07:30:17 pm

I never though of the possibility of "Jane" being Jennie. Even though I think that "Jane" is really the narrator, I like that you thought of that.

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Mary Sine
4/7/2013 05:32:19 pm

In a real or physical sense, I don't think that the narrator really succeeded in rebelling against her husband. Sure, she did walk over him after he fainted and did say, "I've got out at last,...in spite of you and Jane. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!" But really, she will just face more confinement from both her husband and from society. Now that her obsession with the yellow wallpaper has progressed into full blown hallucination and insanity, which is obvious through her "creeping", she will not be able to physically escape constraint at all. She will probably be sent to an asylum or confined even more to the house. But mentally, I think that the narrator may have finally escaped any constraint from her husband. She no longer really cares what he thinks, or about what he says or does. But this freedom from her husband also brought about new confinement. She is now confined to the wallpaper and to "creeping". This is obvious in the final line, "...so I had to creep over him every time!" All that the narrator is focused on doing now is creeping about the room with the yellow wallpaper, this focus confines her just as much as her husband and the maid did earlier in the story. So, her escape of her husband's constraints in the last lines just brought about more confinement from her husband, society, and her own mental state.

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Trevor
4/7/2013 06:54:11 pm

I think that the narrator is completely insane at the end of the story. It is not human for a woman to be so intent on walking around the perimeter of the room that she is irritated she has to “creep” over the limp body of her husband, who fainted. She is not even a little bit concerned for his well being. This shows that she feels no connection with her husband anymore. I believe that the narrator refers to Jane, being a common name for a woman at the time, as a symbol for the social expectations of a woman. The narrator is declaring that she has finally broken free of the restraints that hold her back as a woman.

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Lacayah
4/7/2013 07:24:39 pm

The narrator does succeed in rebelling against her husband. However, I don’t believe that it was just her husband that she was rebelling against. By finally breaking free of her submissive, inferior role as a wife, she was rebelling against her husband, the ideas of society, and the character of her old self. She is now a new person and she realizes that. She says “I've got out at last […] in spite of you and Jane. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!” In this statement, she acknowledges three things. She acknowledges that she has finally escaped, that she’s not this “Jane” anymore, and that she is not going back to her old life and no one can force her to. Although she has rebelled against society, I don’t believe that she’s necessarily free from societal restrictions. However, I don’t believe that it will matter to her. When she says “Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time.” it can be seen that, even though a man just fainted in front of her and was blocking her path, she just walked over him without any trouble. This shows that, even though she will meet societal obstacles, she will continue on with this newfound freedom.

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Kelti Lorence
4/8/2013 07:21:25 am

I agree with your ideas of how she broke her husband's constraints.. However it seems to me that she is fairly insane by the end of the story. Seeing how her husband has only fainted and will wake soon and see how his wife is quite over the edge, it seems to me by attempting to free herself she only made the bondage tighter. It probably isn't the safest idea to let an insane woman have her way in the company of society..

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Megan Wall
4/11/2013 02:21:11 pm

You brought up a really good point- her unstable mental health won't allow her to effectively hold a position of power. I wonder if her insanity keeps her from feeling freedom, or if she is unable to acknowledge that?

Emily
4/15/2013 04:54:43 am

I liked your point about the narrator being able to go over the man with no trouble. It showed that the narrator couldn't be stopped by him or any other man anymore.

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Kelti Lorence
4/8/2013 07:16:07 am

By the time the narrator's husband faints and she steps over him proclaiming, "I've got out at last in spite of you and Jane!", she has basically gone completely insane. Although she may see this as her full force rebellion against her husband, I believe she's past the point of maintaining a position of power over anyone in the household who has been up to this point restraining her life in every aspect. She does break his constraints for a short while, as he is currently unconscious. However, her unstable mental capacity is crippling to her freedom. The more she attempts to overstep the boundaries placed on her, the more walls will be built to keep her safe from herself and society.

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Sam Farmer
4/8/2013 08:16:36 am

Overtime, the narrator in the story goes mad. The yellow wallpaper in her bedroom drives this madness. When describing its pattern, she says, “This thing was not arranged on any laws of radiation, or alternation, or repetition, or symmetry, or anything else that I ever heard of.” (page 317) The pattern baffles the narrator and eventually causes her to hallucinate and become obsessed. After staring at the wallpaper day and night, the narrator admits to readers that she sees a woman figure that creeps around behind the pattern, trying to escape. Near the end of the story, the narrator locked her bedroom door, peeled the wallpaper from the wall, and from her bed she “bit off a little piece at one corner.” (page 324)This is evidence that she is crazy.
When she mentions Jane in the last paragraph, she is referring to herself. She has taken a step outside of her right mind and convinced herself she is the woman behind the wallpaper and that she has finally escaped. Now she creeps around, free from confinement.

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Celeste Yahr
4/10/2013 04:29:43 am

Sammy I agree with you. I think that Jane is the narrator and I like how you put that she has taken a step out of her mind. I think that that is absolutely true. Near the end she realizes as you said that she is the woman in the wallpaper and I think that realization could have been what drove her over the edge.

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Brady
4/8/2013 02:55:46 pm

I believe she succeeds in rebelling in a sense because she is able to escape the confinement she was in, but only by going crazy. I think Jane is the woman who didn't fight back against this confinement and let it happen. She essentially split her personality in order to break out. The way she uses "creeping" shows she is crazy. Creeping sends out a negative connotation and doesn't think this is a bad thing. She just wants to "keep on creeping." This entire story is about rebellion against society's beliefs because the only way for her to escape confinement is by going crazy which is terrible.

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Hannah H
4/8/2013 05:17:40 pm

Brady, I agree. I think the only way she rebelled was becuase she went mad. I really liked your concluding sentence.

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Hannah H
4/8/2013 05:16:05 pm


I don't think Jane succeeds in rebelling against her husband just because he faints and she walks over him, rather her madness has caused her to so far that she is out of his reach; When she says "so you can't put me back!" , she is declaring her rebellion in a state of madness. She also says she must "creep" over him, which implies she isn't using it as an act of rebellion. I'd say she escapes his constraint; Her madness causes him to lose his grip on her and she declares, "you can't put me back!". I don't think she will be free of constraints and restrictions, I think her madness caused her to break free of some constraints but in the end will cause her to be forced in to stronger ones.

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Jacob Jones
4/9/2013 08:12:30 pm

I agree that the narrator or Jane does not succeeds in rebelling against her husband, and that she has just gone mad.

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Jacob Jones
4/9/2013 08:09:52 pm

No, I think that the narrator succeeds in rebelling against her husband because he faints, and then she walks over him. The narrator goes insane from being confined in one room without anything to do. Her husband will not even allow her to write. The narrator becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper, because she has nothing to do. Then when her husband comes in the room she says, “I’ve got out at last, in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back.” Her husband then faints. Since she said, “I’ve got out at last” I believe that she thinks she escaped from her confinement, even though she has just gone insane. When she walks over him, I think that she is continuing to do what she has been doing only with an obstacle in her way

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Celeste Yahr
4/10/2013 04:20:50 am

1. No, I don't think she does. I think she feels a small victory because he fainted and can't dictate her anymore, but she still has to walk over him every time she wants to get somewhere. In a way those are still his constrains on her life. She doesn't have to live in one room now but she has to walk over him continually. I don't think she is free. I think that because she went off the deep end no one will really understand her. There will be people who say they do but they really don't unless they have gone through it as well. I think that she will never fit back into society the same.

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Megan Wall
4/11/2013 08:01:40 am

“An individual with borderline personality disorder finds it hard to cope with limiting demands of the world around them. They will often take impulsive actions, and as a result, have relationships which become chaotic and unstable. The sufferer's sense of identity may be affected, and relationships with work colleagues, friends and household members may turbulent.” (medicalnewstoday.com). The beginning of the above statement states that a person “finds it hard to cope with limiting demands of the world around them,” which is extremely true of the main character in this short story. She is being confined, or limited, to her room, to ideals of how a woman should act, and to how her “wise” husband views her. She does not cope well with all of these confinements at all, as seen in her mental breakdown and tearing off the wall paper and crawling around on the ground. The second part of the quote reveals that a person with a borderline personality will often “take impulsive actions…relationships [will become] chaotic and unstable,” this is enforced in the life of the narrator. Her impulsive actions of tearing off the wall paper and throwing the key to her room out the window did, indeed, hurt her relationship with her husband and caused him to faint. That being stated, I have to seriously wonder if the narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper” had a borderline personality, and not only that, but she had visual hallucinations, which is also a psychiatric problem. According to wisegeek.com, visual hallucinations occur when “a person sees something that is not there.” This is clearly marked in the narration. A great example of this is when the narrator writes, “The front pattern DOES move-and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it! 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.” Now, unless you truly believe that the wallpaper was shaking, and that shaking was caused by a lady inside of the wall paper (in which case you may need to see a counselor as well ;) ) she was having visual hallucinations. I do believe that within this fake world she saw in the wallpaper she probably had conversations with the lady in the wall paper, sort of like an imaginary friend only this was a grown woman. We can see her conversations with the lady such as the time she sympathized with her vowing to release her from the constraints of the wall paper, symbolic? Yes!-But also a clue to her psychiatric disorders. Due to her odd sympathies and probable conversations with this person in the wallpaper, I believe she named her Jane, the person she spoke of in the last sentence. “"'I've got out at last,' said I, 'in spite of you and Jane…”

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