“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short narrative by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It's considered an influential early work of American Feminist poetry for its powerful illustration of women's attitudes towards health and mental well being in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The story centers on the life of a young woman called Meghan MacLaine. Meghan suffers from manic depression. She takes prescribed medication but doesn't respond well to it.
At one point in the story, a series of strange events cause Meghan to develop what appears to be a split in her mind. She begins to see visions of herself at different times in different environments. While in one room she sees a beautiful house and later, a man with long, white hair; in another she sees a pale, haggard-looking old man lying in a ditch. He thanks her for taking him to see the doctor, but before he can leave she insists that he take some more of his medicine.
He does so, but Meghan is too ashamed of her behavior to tell the doctor what she's doing. Then she's forced to give birth to a son. Once the baby is born he begins to take after his mother in her activities and eating habits. The doctors believe this is because he has absorbed all of their ideas. Meghan, however, wants to save the baby and run away to get help.
This is where the story breaks. Two policemen, Detective Tomlin and Detective Lowe arrive at the scene. They quickly discover that Meghan MacLaine has been brutally murdered. Nearby are several Yellow Wallpaper Books which have apparently been burned by her killer. The books have apparently inspired this serial killer who then walks into a bookstore and starts killing his victims.
After some time he finds one of the Yellow Wallpaper Books and realizes what he is doing. He then walks back to his car and starts to drive away. One of the policemen decides to follow him, but soon realizes that the killer has already escaped. The two detectives are left trying to figure out just what happened to this yellow wallpaper book.
Years later, one day Meghan's husband shows up at her house looking for her. He takes the Yellow Wallpaper Books from her and walks away, but Meghan spots him and quickly follows him. He tells her he was just visiting his friend, Bob, and asked her to pick the book up for him. Later on she finds out that Bob had the book stuffed in his garage and notices a strange yellow stain on the book that seems to have appeared after Bob died.
When police officers arrive at Bob's home, they are unable to find any evidence of a crime. They do, however, find several Yellow Wallpaper Books laying around. It turns out that Meghan's husband had been storing all of her old vacation photos in the book and it has now started to fade. Now Meghan has to decide what to do with her husband's pictures. She tells him he can take pictures with the new Yellow Wallpaper Books as proof that he is still alive, or that he can throw them away.
Years later, Meghan returns to the house where the police found the book and Bob's body. They tell her he committed suicide by hanging himself with the book. Shortly afterward the book disappears. Now the question is, who took it and why…
Several years later, a new artist named Lane Patterson finds the Yellow Wallpaper Book sitting in his studio. He immediately recognizes it as the same book that Meghan's husband had taken from their house years ago. The artist believes that it belongs to Bob because he likes the style of the book. He decides to buy the book so that he can make a collection of the most interesting covers… but when he goes to sell it to a gallery he finds out that it was stolen just days before.
The book has turned up on the steps leading to Bob's doorstep… and the police are called in to investigate. After a short investigation by the police they discover that the real owner of the Yellow Wallpaper Book is Lane Patterson who lives in California. He immediately becomes suspicious of the police, because the book is missing a cover page.
A chase ensues throughout the rest of the book as Lane tries to track down the owner and police struggle with a missing stranger. It ends with the book being returned to the police and the mystery behind it solved. The owner of the book however remains a mystery as well. With the help of a few other detectives the book and its mystery is finally revealed.