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 wallpaper pattern and keeps a diary where she notes the improvement in her condition. Starting with Chapter 11, the character’s obsessive thoughts about the wallpaper design turn into hallucinations.
Since her husband demands that she gets better, the heroine tries to convince herself of this. She describes the improvement 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 character 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 finds a scrape on the wallpaper, stretching along the room’s perimeter, and begins to crawl, leaning against it.
Seeing this scene, the character’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. But the treatment with inaction and loneliness proved to be ineffective. That was why Gilman wrote the story.