"The Yellow Wallpaper" is symbolic of the roles women had in the 1800s. Women were portrayed as inferior to their male counter parts and their lives were dedicated to the welfare of home and family. In many marriages submission to the male figure implied a vulnerability and dependence to their husbands. .
The story tells us about a young woman who wanted freedom from the prison of her mind. The narrator tells the story of a young mother who came to a summer home to "rest" from her nervous condition. Her husband, a well renowned doctor prescribes a lot of rest in order for her to get better. The house "a colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house," can best describe how she was feeling on a whole, the feeling of emptiness and loneliness that occupies her soul. Suffering from a "nervous problem" which may have been triggered by postpartum, the narrator stayed in a nursery "with windows that are barred for little children" and it was covered with ugly yellow wallpaper. The more time she spends in the room she became obsessed with the patterns of the wallpaper and the barred windows attributes to her obsession as well as the perception of being imprisoned. Being locked in the room with no interaction other than being watched by her husband's sister the narrator indulged her feelings into her journal, "quite alone" and "hedges and walls and gates that lock," which signals us about her loneliness and isolation that are usually felt by victims of oppression. Another sign of her feeling of oppression is her hallucinations about the wallpaper, "at night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern, I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be," shows how the loneliness caused by oppression triggers her to cross over the line of reality to insanity. The woman she sees who is trying to escape from the wallpaper (which symbolizes her life) and her creeping was actually she who is trying to break free from her sickness and lonely life.