One would think that a doctor would recognize a patient's downfall into mental insanity; especially when he lives with the patient. However, in "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Gilman, the doctor, John, does not identify his wife's fall into madness. John's wife, who is the narrator of the story and remains nameless, records her three months while living in a colonial mansion. Subconsciously, while writing her thoughts, she also logs the stages of post-partum depression gone haywire. In an attempt to make his wife well, John actually drives her into a false world and her reality becomes oblivion. She becomes obsessed with the wallpaper in her room, and it is the wallpaper she blames for her illness. .
The narrator, in her recorded three months, goes through a series of stages. When she first arrives at the estate, she is in awe of the beautiful garden, but angry that John will not let her have a room where it suits her better and easier on her eyes. She knows that John thinks she has temporary nervous depression, but does not seem to agree with his diagnosis. But, as she says, "What is one to do" (Gilman 595)? Her main complaint is over the wallpaper in her room. She becomes squeamish over its growths and the mold growing out of the walls. However, she eventually feels the nursery will suit her the best with the exception of the horrid, musty, yellow wallpaper. Once she becomes accustomed to the nursery and its yellow wallpaper, the narrator begins to complain about her nervousness and depression. She encompasses both emotions saying, "But these nervous troubles are dreadfully depressing" (Gilman 596). She writes about her desire to see her son, "and yet, [she] cannot be with him, it makes [her] so nervous" (Gilman 596).
Despite her nervousness and depression, she is still able to be so imaginative and see patterns that "look like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes start at you upside down" (Gilman 596), and "a florid arabesque, reminding one of a fungus" (Gilman 596).