The ending of Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper is tragic and symbolic. A woman suffers from nervous depression. The narrator is locked in a room with good intentions but loses her mind in the end. She tears the wallpapers off in an attempt to free another imaginary woman. She believes the woman was previously locked in the same room.
The Yellow Wallpaper by Gilman is a short story first published in 1892. The author portrays Jane’s madness to indicate protest against the professional oppression of women of the time. Her husband and male doctors consider all women weak and mentally deficient. They ensure Jane’s total rest, despite her objection. Mental illness caused by such treatment is one of the central The Yellow Wallpaper themes.
The ending is crucial to understand. It represents Gilman’s ideas of a repressive treatment of women’s mental and physical health in the 19th century. At the end of summer, Jane locks herself in the room and strips off the wallpapers that disgust her. She crawls around the room, shouting out that she is finally out. The narrator believes that she set the woman behind the wallpaper free.
To sum up, the symbolic meaning of The Yellow Wallpaper’s ending draws attention to the suppressive treatment of women in the 19th century. The actions of Jane’s husband and doctors lead to her losing her sanity. Gilman’s short story intended to disapprove of male control over medicine and all aspects of women’s life at the time. The ending shows how it trapped the ill woman and made her lose her mind.