The ending of Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper is tragic and symbolic. A woman suffering from nervous depression was locked in a room with good intentions. Eventually, she loses her mind. She tears the wallpapers off in an attempt to free an imaginary woman who was locked in the same place.
The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story published in 1892. Jane’s madness indicates a protest against the professional oppression of women. Her husband and male doctors consider all women fragile and mentally deficient. They ensure Jane’s total rest, despite her opinion. The mental illness caused by such treatment is one of the central themes.
The ending represents Gilman’s ideas of a repressive treatment of women’s mental and physical health. At the end of summer, Jane locks herself in the room and strips off the wallpapers that disgust her. The narrator crawls around the room, shouting out that she is finally out. She believes to have set the woman behind the wallpaper free.
The symbolic meaning of the ending highlights 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 disapproves 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.