Read an in-depth analysis of John.
I think the wallpaper represents her trying to escape her husband. She said she saw a woman trapped by bars trying to escape the wallpaper. This is symbolic of her relationship with John. As she looks further into the wallpaper, she is really examining her life and begins to change her mind and talk about how she now despises John.
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I think it's important to realise not only that she is suffering from depression, but also the kind of depression she's really experiencing. The mention of the newborn child she is not allowed to see leads to the assumption that she is enduring postpartum depression. This adds to the sexism within the theme of the story. Her inability to meet the motherly expectations are a key factor to why she's addressed as a child.
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I think the woman in the wallpaper is an image she is seeing of herself being trapped. People who are depressed are constantly stuck in their own minds. Sort of like being inside your own head and your eyes are just glass windows you can see out of, but cannot escape. She's seeing herself in the wallpaper trying to escape because she is also trying to escape her depression. When she is ripping off the wall paper and the woman is also ripping it from the inside, she thinks that the woman is helping her, but it's herself trying to escape.... Read more→