Jane's husband is portrayed as an authoritative physician who is narrow-minded and a staunch proponent of Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell's "rest cure," which was designed to minimize distressing stimulation and promote physical health for postpartum women. John believes that Jane is suffering from a "slight hysterical tendency" and thinks that it is best for her to remain isolated on the top floor of a country home. John also does not allow Jane to write, read, exercise, socialize with others, or leave the room. He requires his wife to remain in bed and refuses to listen to her.
Despite John's insistence that the "rest cure" is the best thing for Jane, she suffers during her isolation and desperately wishes to leave the room. Jane is forced to sneak when she writes in her diary in order to avoid upsetting her husband. As time passes, Jane gradually begins to lose her mind and sees the images of women creeping in the yellow wallpaper. The creeping women reflect Jane's mental anguish as she also begins to creep around the room on all fours and completely loses her mind. By the end of the story, Jane has transformed into the woman she sees trying to escape the yellow wallpaper and is mentally unhinged as a result of her husband's "rest cure."