A gothic story of the tortuous efforts of a woman to resolve the disturbed musings of her mind, "The Yellow Wallpaper" transports the reader into realms of both depression and repression. Forced into bed rest and forbidden to engage in any activity until she is considered well again as she suffers from post-partum depression, the narrator of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story feel helpless against the patriarchal forces of both her husband and the doctor. Intuitively, she knows what is good for her, but she has to be "sly" about it or she meets with opposition:
I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus--but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad.
Indeed, it is this very repression that drives Gilman's narrator into the obsessive musings about the hideous yellow wallpaper that covers the interior of the room to which she is confined. She describes it as
One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin.
It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough constantly to irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide--plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.
Clearly, this tainted wallpaper becomes for the narrator a tangible representation of her tortuous, repressed confinement in which she finds herself. In the efforts of the woman to free herself from her oppression by Dr. S. Weir Mitchell represented by "a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure" as a "debased Romanesque" she envisions the wallpaper reaching the grotesque:
All those strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growth just shriek with derision!"
Finally, in her desperate effort to release herself and conquer her mental and emotional imprisonment, the woman tears down the wallpaper to free the woman--herself--behind it, crawling along the floor from wall to wall.
"you know the place is doing you good" he said and really dear i dont care to renovate the house just for a three months "rental" means she will be better after her treatment 2 "whydarling" said he our lease will be up in three weeks and i cant see how to leave before means a better place for rehabilitation 3 "My darling "said he "i beg of you for my sake and my childs sake as for our own that you will never for one instant let that idea enter your mind there is nothing so dangerous so facinating to a temperament like yours.It is a false and foolish fancy . Can you not trust me as a physicianwhen i told you so?"