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The Yellow Wallpaper

1309 words - 6 pages

Women in the 19th century were expected to stay at home and care for their family. It was looked down upon when they used their minds creatively. They were not taken seriously and were given the rest cure when they showed signs of a mental illness. In the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the narrators instability was not taken seriously by her husband. She was trapped in a house, in one small room, which was no where near beneficial to her health, and given the rest cure. In the article that Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote, “Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper,” she explains her true experience behind the text. She shows how the rest cure and being treated like ...view middle of the document...

She may have just been more insane than she believed and didn’t see the room for what it actually was.
It’s ironic that she believed the room was a nursery because John treated her like a child and babied her. He didn’t understand her mental illness and only added to it by treating her like she couldn’t do anything herself. John referred to her as ‘darling, ‘little girl’, ‘dear’, and treats her like she is a child. He did show he cared but he didn’t seem to know how to show it in another matter than babying her. He proved he cared when the narrator says, “And dear John gathered me up in his arms, and just carried me upstairs and laid me on the bed, and sat by me and read to me till it tired my head.” He treats her like he would treat a child with a cold. John also did not fully take her condition seriously, which only made her worse. He seemed to have control over her and she was scared to even get caught writing in her journal. She explained, “He says with my imaginative power and habit of story making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies, and that i ought to use my will and good sense to check the tendency. So I try.” She seems like wants to do anything she can to please him and doesn’t want to disappoint him. Although she tries to get better for him, he doesn’t understand what she’s dealing with and doesn’t take her illness seriously. When she is starting to be driven mad by the wallpaper, he doesn’t understand why. She clearly feels strongly about it and it makes her uncomfortable. But John just blows it off. She says, “I suppose John never was nervous in his life. He laughs at me so about this wallpaper!” He doesn’t really try to understand the way his wife thinks and feels, he just laughs as if its a joke and moves on. This is unfair to her and only adds to her condition.
S. Weir Mitchell was the one who originally treated patients with the rest cure. He believed that woman, exclusively, should be treated with the rest cure. The rest cure is explained in the article “The Rest Cure Revisited,” it states, ”The patient was instructed to lie in bed for 24 hours each day, sometimes for months at a time, with a special nurse who would sleep on a cot in the room, feed her, and keep her mind from morbid thoughts by reading aloud or discussing soothing topics” (Psychiatry 737). This gave them no contact with the outside world and they could only be in this confined space. She would be treated like a child and wouldnt be allowed to...

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