That night, the narrator helps the woman in the wallpaper by peeling off the wallpaper halfway around the room. The next day, Jennie is shocked, but the narrator convinces her that she only stripped the wallpaper out of spite. Jennie is able to understand the desire to peel off the ugly wallpaper and does not tell John that anything is out of the ordinary. The next night, the narrator locks herself in her room and continues stripping the wallpaper. She hears shrieks within the wallpaper as she tears it off. She contemplates jumping out of a window, but the bars prevent that; besides, she is afraid of all of the women that are creeping about outside of the house. When morning comes, the narrator has peeled off all of the wallpaper and begun to creep around the perimeter of the room. John eventually breaks into the room, but the narrator does not recognize him. She informs him that she has peeled off most of the wallpaper so that now no one can put her back inside the walls. John faints, and the narrator continues creeping around the room over him.
In 1890, Gilman sent the story to writer William Dean Howells, who submitted it to Horace Scudder, editor of the prestigious magazine, “The Atlantic Monthly.” Scudder rejected the story as depressing material, and returned it to Gilman with a handwritten note that read: “Dear Madam: W. Howells has handed me this story. I could not forgive myself if I made others as miserable as I have made myself! Sincerely Yours, H. E. Scudder.” Eventually the story was published in “The New England Magazine” in May 1892. According to Gilman’s autobiography, she sent a copy of “The Yellow Wallpaper” to Weir Mitchell after its publication. Although she never received a response, she claimed that Weir Mitchell later changed his official treatment for nervous depression as a direct result of her story. Gilman also asserted that she knew of one particular woman who had been spared the “rest cure” as a treatment for her depression after her family read “The Yellow Wallpaper.”