The Yellow Wallpaper is a story by feminist writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The heroine of the story goes through a “rest cure” in a room with yellow wallpaper. She reflects on the nature of the wallpaper pattern. The woman keeps a diary where she notes the improvement in her condition. Starting with Chapter 11, the heroine’s obsessive thoughts about the design on the wallpaper turn into hallucinations.
Her husband demands that she gets better. That is why the heroine tries to convince herself of this and writes about the improvements in her diary. But her condition is only getting worse, as her obsessions quickly turn into hallucinations. Behind the ugly wallpaper pattern, she begins to see the silhouette of a woman. After her husband makes her sleep in the afternoon after eating, she loses her night’s sleep. She begins to see the female figure behind the wallpaper pattern that now looks like a cage.
The figure wants to get out. The heroine helps her by tearing off a horizontal piece of wallpaper around the perimeter of the room. By now, she has hallucinations. Through the window, she sees a woman creeping along the alleys here and there. Finally, on the last day before leaving the house, the heroine locks herself in a room to carry out her plan. She rips off most of the wallpaper, freeing the woman behind it. She also finds a scrape on the wallpaper, stretching along the perimeter of the room. The protagonist begins to crawl, leaning against it.
Seeing this scene, the heroine’s husband John faints. She only notes that he fell just on her way, and now she will have to crawl over him. Charlotte Gilman wrote this story after she had to go through a similar “rest cure.” Her husband and the doctor thought she was suffering from nervous exhaustion after giving birth to her daughter. However, the treatment with inaction and loneliness proved ineffective. These events prompted Gilman to write the story.