The Fourth of July has come and gone, and the narrator recalls her family’s recent visit to the estate. Despite not doing a thing around the house, the guests still tired her out. With John’s threat of sending her to see Weir Mitchell, a scientist and physician, looming, the narrator admits that she has begun to cry rather frequently when she is alone. Her sense of loneliness has also increased her interest in the yellow wallpaper. The narrator explains that she has begun laying on the room’s large, immovable bed and analyzing the intricacies of the wallpaper’s patterns hour after hour, although she has yet to come to any sort of conclusion about it. This exercise takes quite the mental toll on her and leaves her feeling worn out.

The narrator begins what seems to be a new journal entry by questioning her choice and ability to record her thoughts, but she ultimately admits that expressing herself through writing “is such a relief.” She reflects on her relationship with John, explaining that he loves and takes care of her while also alluding to the ways in which he infantilizes her. At the same time, she takes comfort in the fact that she is the one whom John keeps in the nursery with the horrible wallpaper instead of their baby. A baby, she convinces herself, would not be able to withstand the psychological torment that the seemingly evolving wallpaper can inflict on a person.

Among the newest qualities that the narrator identifies within the wallpaper is the shape of a woman creeping behind the main pattern. She wakes John up one night after getting out of bed to investigate the wallpaper woman, who seems to shake the pattern, and he insists that they cannot leave the house early. The narrator’s condition is improving, John argues, and the worst thing for their family is for her to go on believing that her mind is unwell. With that, she drops the subject and goes back to studying the wallpaper. The seeming impossibility of decoding its patterns haunts her, especially once she discovers that the design changes as the light changes. At nighttime, the main pattern of the wallpaper turns into bars with the woman of the sub-pattern trapped behind them. During the day, the wallpaper woman becomes subdued.

Similarly, the narrator has taken to resting more during the day and watching the wallpaper at night, unbeknownst to John and Jennie. She admits that this act of deception makes her somewhat fearful of her husband and how he might react to discovering her behavior. The narrator also has concerns about John and Jennie’s interest in the wallpaper, noting that she has seen both of them look at or touch it. Fearing that someone will unlock the secrets of the pattern before she does, the narrator ambushes Jennie to ask her about the paper. Startled, Jennie tells her that the yellow color of the wallpaper has been staining their clothes, but she remains unconvinced of her sister-in-law’s innocence.