What Happens at the End of The Yellow Wallpaper?

The conclusion of Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper is both tragic and symbolic, conveying the oppressive treatment of women’s mental and physical health in the 19th century. The protagonist, Jane, is suffering from nervous depression and is locked in a room by her husband and male doctors, despite her own wishes. Jane’s madness is presented as a protest against professional oppression of women, as her husband and doctors consider all women to be fragile and mentally deficient.

In the end, Jane loses her mind and tears off the wallpaper in an attempt to free an imaginary woman who she believes is locked in the same room. The narrator crawls around the room, shouting that she is finally out, convinced that she has set the woman behind the wallpaper free. This conclusion symbolically represents Gilman’s ideas about the repressive treatment of women’s mental and physical health.

Overall, the ending of The Yellow Wallpaper highlights Gilman’s critique of the male control over medicine and all aspects of women’s lives in the 19th century. Jane’s husband and doctors’ actions lead to her mental breakdown, trapping her in the room and causing her to lose her sanity. The ending is a powerful portrayal of the harm caused by the suppression of women’s voices and agency.


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