Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" is told from a first person point of view narrative. This means that the unnamed main character serves as the narrator. However, since this narrator is slowly descending into a mental breakdown, we cannot venture to say that the story is objective, nor reliable: everything we know is told by a woman who is undergoing a series of terrible circumstances as a result of her post-partum depression. Yet, the story is effective in style, combining an allegorical title with a daring and challenging topic for treatment.
The title of the story is allegorical to the narrator's mind. The woman, who is supposed to be taking post-partum rest for her depression in a remote house, spends her day inside a room in which the wallpaper begins to annoy her. She believes that there is a woman trapped within the paper and she slowly increases her obsession with it. In the end, she tears up the paper and finally breaks down. This is a symbol of the magnitude of her desperation; of being trapped inside a room with no intellectual respite, and with no way of expressing her real needs and emotions.
Finally, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is unique in that it addresses a real issue which had not received enough attention (during Perkins Gilman's society), which is the psychological health of women. Women, in their socially-imposed roles of wives, mothers, and nurturers, were never analyzed under the light of psychology. If anything, a post-partum depression would have been classified as "hysteria" or plain "nostalgia". Little was known during this time about the effects of hormonal imbalance, or about the effects of childbirth in women; women were expected to give birth, no questions asked.
Hence, we can conclude that "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a story that breaks the mold in terms of the topic that it treats, and that it effectively tells the story of a woman in need by using her as first person narrator. This helps us look inside the mind of a woman about to break down, and teaches us how society has forgotten to address the true needs of females.