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The Yellow Wallpaper

Uploaded by ggr on Nov 15, 2001

“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a story of a woman with psychological difficulties whose husband’s prescribed “treatment” of her mental illness sends her into insanity. The so-called treatment consists of the “Rest Cure” as developed by the notable Dr. Weir Mitchell, which includes complete bed rest, no work, and no emotional or physical stimulus – an enforced idleness of body, mind, and spirit. The husband, John, takes complete control of all decisions on behalf of his wife concerning her living arrangements, social encounters, and medical treatment. Her mental dysfunction is only exacerbated to the point of complete insanity by John’s prescription of idleness and denial of mental stimulation.

The woman in the story wants to get well and makes several suggestions to John to help her in healing, however, John consistently refuses all of her requests and down-plays her illness. The woman in this story knows that she is not quite mentally well. She believes that she only suffers from “temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency.” She believes that her “case is not serious!” The woman’s husband, John, is a physician and does not really believe that she is ill. With all good intentions, he controls her life and makes all decisions. He believes that he always knows what is best for her, no matter what she wants or desires, or what she believes may help her to heal. Several times throughout the story the woman must rush to put away her writings before she is caught for John believes that she is given to flights of fancy and imagination and must rest her mind. John believes that his plan of treatment will cure her mild case of mental illness, no matter what she feels will help her to recover. He dismisses her suggestions as unimportant and trivial. His wife wanted to stay in the downstairs room where there were roses on the window and pretty curtains, but John decided that the upstairs bedroom was best for her, so that was where she stayed. When she told John that she did not believe that she was getting well in the old house and that she wanted to go home, he told her that they must stay the remainder of the three weeks. She wanted to visit with her Cousin Henry and Julia, and John would not allow her to visit for she would not be able...

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Uploaded by:   ggr

Date:   11/15/2001

Category:   Literature

Length:   5 pages (1,114 words)

Views:   1529

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