Analysis Of Mental Illness In The Yellow Wallpaper

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Mental illness is topic of fairly unrestricted conversation in the United States today; however, in generations past, it has been very unacceptable. Doctors regularly diagnosed illnesses and gave treatments without much doubt from the community. Considering when it was written, most people conclude that Charlotte Perkins Gilman made “The Yellow Wallpaper” to show her frustration with the suppression of women and those with mental illness. Gilman suffered from mental illness herself; thus, one could conclude she was projecting her own experience through the narrator in her story. Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” to shine a light on the taboo subjects of mental illness and gender inequality of the 1890s, and to show how poorly …show more content…
Mental illness, being the unacceptable subject it was, often lead doctors and patient’s family members to deny the idea of someone being mentally sick, causing people like the narrator to be treated incorrectly. In the narrator’s own words, she suffers from “a temporary nervous depression;” early in the story, one can conclude she has Post-Partum depression, given she wrote about never being around her baby. Her husband, John, is her primary physician and treats her with the “resting cure”. The “resting cure” was comprised of separation from family and friends, extreme bed rest, and certain medicines. Many doctors and patients dislike this treatment; often finding it more dangerous than the illness the patient was suffering from, as we can see in “The Yellow Wallpaper”. Humans are social creatures by nature, and being isolated and cast out of society would give anyone anxiety not to mention becoming severely depressed. It is obvious that John did not wish to do harm to his wife by locking her away in the mansion, it was just the approved treatment of the period. In addition to this, her other family members doubt the severity of the narrator’s condition. The …show more content…
When the narrator arrived at the mansion and started writing, she seemed to be in a somewhat stable state of mind. The resting cure and isolation in the yellow nursery drove the narrator into madness. The narrator sees a woman behind the wallpaper, which seems to be the narrator’s reflection. To escape her new reality of being locked away, “Jane” tears away the boundaries (wallpaper) to free herself from society’s oppression. The rest cure has a similarity to the punishment, called solitary confinement, found in many American institutions. Solitary confinement has harmful effects to even those who are mentally sound before being place in the “hole.” The narrator develops symptoms of additional mental illnesses during her time in the yellow nursery. This is typical for those in an institutionalized atmosphere to develop “mental health problems including anxiety, panic, insomnia, paranoia, aggression and depression” (Weir). One can see these elements appear as the story progresses. She becomes anxious and cannot sleep due to the woman behind the wallpaper. Being isolated from society caused the narrator even further mental

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