The narrator and her physician husband, John have rented an old colonial mansion for three months vacation hoping that the rest will cure her temporary nervous condition. Her brother, also a physician agrees with John.
Although, she would like to care for her own child, John feels that the best medicine for her is total rest. He has arranged for a nanny to take care of the baby and his sister Jennie, to take care of her. Jennie is the perfect housekeeper and wants no better profession for herself. Although she is a writer, he has forbidden her to write and think, until she is well again. He has followed the advice of Dr. Mitchell, a prominent physician, who has impressed the importance of rest therapy that calls upon women to abandon all forms of excitement created by artistic production. As she tells her story, she does vent her frustration about her treatment by her husband, however well meaning his intentions.
She does continue to write since she feels more excitement and work would do her good but puts the work away so that John does not see her writing. She also hides her writing from Jennie, who thinks the writing might be part of her illness. John has a plan for each hour in her day and she feels ungrateful not to value his efforts.
The room that he has picked for her is a big airy room with windows that look all ways. First it served as a nursery, then playroom and gymnasium for the children. This room serves as a symbol of her being under the care and control of an adult. The windows of the nursery are barred, making it not only a room for a child but also a prison. The bed...