The narrator and her husband John, who is a doctor, go to the countryside and rents a house for the summer. The narrator finds the house to be scary, mostly due to her "temporary nervous depression." However, John believes that coming here will help her get better and he insists that she avoids most activities until she is well again.
Man vs. man conflict can be seen throughout the "Yellow Wallpaper." As the narrator spends more and more time with the yellow wallpaper, her madness worsens. She begins to see herself as battling Jennie and John, hiding the secret creeping woman from them. She becomes fiercely protective of the wallpaper and swears that only she can touch it.
The narrator starts to write in her journal behind John's back because he believes that writing will make her nervousness even worse. She writes down how she has become especially interested in the ugly yellow wallpaper that is in her bedroom. She soon becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper and can't seem to think about anything else.
As the narrator understands that there is no one to talk to about her condition, her state of mind grows worse. She becomes convinced that she can see eyes, and then a figure of a woman, who she believes is trapped inside the wallpaper. The narrator doesn't really sleep anymore as she watches the woman creep around the wall in the evening.
The narrator starts to see the creeping woman almost everywhere and begins to come up with a plan. The day before she is supposed to return home, she saw that John had gone out. She locks the door and decides that she is going to free the woman before it was too late. The narrator starts ripping off the wallpaper and sets the woman free.
Now extremely ill, the narrator believes that she was the woman trapped in the wallpaper; being removed from the wall has made her finally feel free. Achieving liberation, John walks in with a shocked look on his face and faints. As the narrator creeps around the room, she tells him that she's finally out and he won't be able to put her back into the wallpaper.