Back to The Yellow Wallpaper
Hurrah! This is the last day, but it is enough. John is to
stay in town over night, and won't be out until this evening.
Jennie wanted to sleep with me--the sly thing! but I told
her I should undoubtedly rest better for a night all alone.
That was clever, for really I wasn't alone a bit! As soon
as it was moonlight and that poor thing began to crawl and shake
the pattern, I got up and ran to help her.
I pulled and she shook, I shook and she pulled, and before
morning we had peeled off yards of that paper.
A strip about as high as my head and half around the room.
And then when the sun came and that awful pattern began to
laugh at me, I declared I would finish it to-day!
We go away to-morrow, and they are moving all my furniture
down again to leave things as they were before.
Jennie looked at the wall in amazement, but I told her
merrily that I did it out of pure spite at the vicious thing.
She laughed and said she wouldn't mind doing it herself, but
I must not get tired.
How she betrayed herself that time!
But I am here, and no person touches this paper but me--not
She tried to get me out of the room--it was too patent! But
I said it was so quiet and empty and clean now that I believed I
would lie down again and sleep all I could; and not to wake me
even for dinner--I would call when I woke.
So now she is gone, and the servants are gone, and the
things are gone, and there is nothing left but that great
bedstead nailed down, with the canvas mattress we found on it.
We shall sleep downstairs to-night, and take the boat home
I quite enjoy the room, now it is bare again.
How those children did tear about here!
This bedstead is fairly gnawed!
But I must get to work.
I have locked the door and thrown the key down into the
I don't want to go out, and I don't want to have anybody
come in, till John comes.
I want to astonish him.
I've got a rope up here that even Jennie did not find. If
that woman does get out, and tries to get away, I can tie her!
But I forgot I could not reach far without anything to stand
This bed will NOT move!
I tried to lift and push it until I was lame, and then I got
so angry I bit off a little piece at one corner--but it hurt my
Then I peeled off all the paper I could reach standing on
the floor. It sticks horribly and the pattern just enjoys it!
All those strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus
growths just shriek with derision!
I am getting angry enough to do something desperate. To
jump out of the window would be admirable exercise, but the bars
are too strong even to try.
Besides I wouldn't do it. Of course not. I know well
enough that a step like that is improper and might be
I don't like to LOOK out of the windows even--there are so
many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast.
I wonder if they all come out of that wall-paper as I did?
But I am securely fastened now by my well-hidden rope--you
don't get ME out in the road there!
I suppose I shall have to get back behind the pattern when
it comes night, and that is hard!
It is so pleasant to be out in this great room and creep
around as I please!
I don't want to go outside. I won't, even if Jennie asks me
For outside you have to creep on the ground, and everything
is green instead of yellow.
But here I can creep smoothly on the floor, and my shoulder
just fits in that long smooch around the wall, so I cannot lose
Why there's John at the door!
It is no use, young man, you can't open it!
How he does call and pound!
Now he's crying for an axe.
It would be a shame to break down that beautiful door!
"John dear!' said I in the gentlest voice, "the key is down
by the front steps, under a plantain leaf!"
That silenced him for a few moments.
Then he said--very quietly indeed, "Open the door, my
"I can't", said I. "The key is down by the front door under
a plantain leaf!"
And then I said it again, several times, very gently and
slowly, and said it so often that he had to go and see, and he
got it of course, and came in. He stopped short by the door.
"What is the matter?" he cried. "For God's sake, what are
I kept on creeping just the same, but I looked at him over
"I've got out at last," said I, "in spite of you and Jane.
And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!"
Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right
across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every