What is ironic about the ending of “The Yellow Wallpaper”?

What is ironic about the ending of “The Yellow Wallpaper” is that it's the narrator who is supposed to be hysterical, yet her husband is the one who faints. Throughout the story, he has been the voice of cold, scientific reason. Yet when the sees his wife creeping around the room, he becomes frightened and immediately passes out.

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Throughout “The Yellow Wallpaper ,” the narrator's husband, John, has been treating his wife like an invalid who doesn't know what's best for her. As well as being the narrator's husband, John also happens to be a doctor, which he thinks gives him the right to exert control over...

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Throughout “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the narrator's husband, John, has been treating his wife like an invalid who doesn't know what's best for her. As well as being the narrator's husband, John also happens to be a doctor, which he thinks gives him the right to exert control over his wife and tell her what to do. John may mean well, but his wife feels restricted at being confined to her bedroom all day, unable to write as normal.

It is John's considered opinion—and that of the narrator's brother, who is also a doctor—that the narrator is suffering from hysteria. This was a catch-all term used in those days for a wide variety of ailments believed to mainly affect women. The narrator doesn't seem to display any obvious signs of hysteria until, after being cooped up inside her bedroom for so long, she sees what appears to be a woman struggling to escape from the eponymous yellow wallpaper.

However, it's not just the narrator who shows signs of hysteria. In a twist of irony, her husband, John, a supposedly calm and rational man of science, faints when he enters his wife's bedroom and sees her creeping around on the floor after tearing the yellow paper to bits in order to free the woman she believes to be trapped there.

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