Mental Illnesses In Ethan Frome By Edith Wharton

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The treatment of people with mental illnesses and handicaps has been a long lasting problem because of the misunderstandings of police, mental hospitals, and society. Many documentaries and movies have been made to show the lives lead in mental hospitals and institutions. News reports have talked about police shooting suspects who have been mentally ill. Most of these events could have been avoided if people could try and learn about mental illnesses, instead of hiding them away from the rest of the world. Just because they are physically or mentally different from the norm, society expects them to be maintained at an institution like dogs in a dog pound.
Whether it be news, documentaries, or history books, there has always been a censoring
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When I had to read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, it gave me a lot to think about the treatment of those who are disabled. Wharton writes about the treatment of Ethan by the townspeople. The narrator says, “There was something bleak and unapproachable in his face , and he was so stiffened and grizzled that I took him for an old man and was surprised to hear that he was not more than fifty two” (Wharton 3). Just the description from the narrator’s point of view gives me a sense that the public eye shies away from those who are different. Many people leave Ethan Frome alone because of the damage from the accident and the physical ailments he has received. He is left alone by the townspeople and shunned to a certain degree. Even though some may engage in small talk, Ethan is still an outcast from the people who used to speak to him …show more content…
The police and court employees must receive better training to accommodate to the ailments of the disabled who are arrested and tried. They must also learn the different types of treatments that one will need for that specific disability. When the disabled are arrested, some may never go to court, but go straight to a mental hospital which doesn’t seem fair. Any citizen, disabled or not, should get a fair trial. Hayes writes that there is an alternative to prison for the disabled which is community service. If they are sent to jail, there must be special programs and conditions for each individual, so that they are kept safe and out of harm’s way. Also when someone with a disability gets arrested, they should have proper identification, so that they will be treated with what they need. Officers and staff members need to be taught how to socially interact with the disabled, so that anything that is said is not misinterpreted in any way. Hayes writes, “Offenders with learning disabilities are likely to have a constellation of difficulties in their lives, including an increased rate of physical health problems, poverty, poor accommodation, lack of social support, vulnerability to mental illness, and communication difficulties, as compared with non disabled offenders” (Hayes 151). Police should handle situations better by being taught in special training classes.

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