The protagonist of the story is a woman who is suffering from a malady her husband has labeled a “nervous condition”. He is also her doctor, and so he restricts her from engaging in activities that could impede her recovery, such as writing and daydreaming. In a defiant act, she begins to write to ease her suffering, and it is through this medium that she is able to tell her story. The narrator is a creative woman who is oppressed by her environment and is trying to break free from her restraints. Throughout the story, she creates a woman who is trapped behind the yellow wallpaper of the room she is confined in. She imagines the woman in the wallpaper with multiple heads, eyes all around the walls, and patterns that move in the moonlight and sunlight. She sees many women in the wallpaper, but one in particular stands out to her. She imagines the woman in the wallpaper is trapped behind bars and manages to escape during the day. Eventually, she realizes that the woman behind the wallpaper is herself. She tears the yellow wallpaper from the wall and liberates the woman.