Why Does the Narrator First Dislike the Yellow Wallpaper?

The narrator finds the yellow color of the wallpaper disturbing and revolting. She doesn’t like the erratic patterns and the fact that the wallpaper is peeling off. She claims it’s the worst paper she has seen in her life.

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The narrator’s first impression of the wallpaper is quite complex. She describes the color as varying from “lurid orange” to “sulfur tint.” The patterns seem dull and irritating at the same time. As her eye follows the lines, she notes that they “commit suicide.” This metaphor is indicative of the protagonist’s mental state. Now, it’s worth looking at the story’s setting to understand where her anxiety comes from.

The narrator finds herself imprisoned in a room that she believes was previously used as a nursery. She can hardly engage in any activities, following her physician’s orders. No wonder she only sinks deeper into depression.

When the narrator wants to replace the wallpaper, her husband refuses. He points out that she would find a new source of disturbance anyway. In her diary, she admits he’s probably right about that. It points out that the narrator’s anxiety is the real source of the problem rather than the wallpaper. However, the attitude of her husband leads to the decline of her mental health.

As the story progresses, the narrator’s obsession with the wallpaper grows stronger. Her perception of reality starts distorting. She begins hallucinating and spots a woman behind the wallpaper. By the time they’re about to leave the mansion, she has completely lost grip on reality. The woman believes she’s the one trapped in the wallpaper.

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