At night, however, the balance shifts. Men's day jobs in the public sphere are irrelevant, and women can achieve a more equal level with their husbands. While he is asleep, John is unable to monitor the narrator’s behavior, and she is not in a perpetual state of inferiority or being constantly controlled. More importantly, the narrator’s flexible subconscious roams free at night, as in during dreams. It is always by moonlight, a traditional symbol of femininity and the Goddess Artemis, that the narrator understands more about the figure trapped within the wallpaper. In sunlight, the woman stays still, afraid of being caught, and, once she creeps about outside, she does so boldly only at night. Moreover, the narrator cannot see the figure under the oppressive glare of sunlight in her room and is overwhelmed by the pattern of the wallpaper. By the cool, feminine light of the moon, the narrator is able to grasp the woman’s plight and ultimately recognize in it a reflection of her own imprisonment.
Out of another I get a lovely view of the bay and a little private wharf belonging to the estate. There is a beautiful shaded lane that runs down there from the house. I always fancy I see people walking in these numerous paths and arbors, but John has cautioned me not to give way to fancy in the least. He says that with my imaginative power and habit of story-making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies, and that I ought to use my will and good sense to check the tendency. So I try.