How does the protagonist behave toward the end of the story? Does her final action display hysteria? Explain.

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Toward the end of the story, the protagonist actually comes to believe that she is the woman that she has freed from the wallpaper. She says something about not wanting to look out the windows of her room because of all the creepy creeping women in the garden outside. Then...

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Toward the end of the story, the protagonist actually comes to believe that she is the woman that she has freed from the wallpaper. She says something about not wanting to look out the windows of her room because of all the creepy creeping women in the garden outside. Then suddenly, she says,

I wonder if they all come out of that wall-paper as I did?

Earlier in the story, she works hard to free the woman she believes is trapped in the wallpaper. The narrator seems to recognize on some level that she is, herself, trapped by her "treatment," but at least she could assist this other woman to freedom. Now that she believes that she's freed this woman by ripping down all the wallpaper, she actually changes places with this woman, in her mind, perhaps because she believes this woman is now free. She even refers to someone named Jane, who we've never heard mentioned in the story before, saying to her husband,

I've got out at last . . . in spite of you and Jane! And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!

I believe that Jane is actually her own name, a name she no longer recognizes as hers because she believes that she is someone else.

Hysteria is not now recognized as an actual psychological condition. It was used, during this time, as a sort of catch-all term to describe any kind of emotional irregularity or mental illness (like depression or anxiety) that women had, like the postpartum depression from which the narrator probably suffers. I wouldn't describe her as hysterical, because her husband's "treatment" has actually caused her depression to develop into something much more severe: she no longer recognizes her own identity and now believes herself to be someone else.

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