Mental Health In The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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At the turn of the 19th century, mental health was a confusing concept that led to the suffering of millions of people. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the main character was taken to a vacation home for three months in order to relieve what was diagnosed as a “nervous condition.” Throughout her time at this home, she went through a mental battle. She was told not to think or use too much energy. In contrast to what her husband perceived, her condition progressively worsened, leading her into insanity. She started ripping off the yellow wallpaper in her room in order reveal the imaginary woman she could see behind it. This woman looks as if she is trapped and the narrator wants to free her. After weeks of tearing into …show more content…
As a doctor, the protagonist’s husband takes control of her mental treatment and uses a method that limits a woman’s activity. The main character says she is ”absolutely forbidden to "work" until I am well again,” (). During this time period, women were viewed as fragile and brainless. As a result, doctors believed that the “nervous condition” that developed in the narrator and other women stemmed from doing and thinking too much. Her husband limited everything she did to the point where she had nothing to focus on but the yellow wallpaper. Not only did this prescribed method of healing limit her actions, it drove her completely mad. Furthermore, all while being stuck in her own mind, the protagonist’s husband expected her to “fix” herself. The main character states, “He says no one but myself can help me out of it, that I must use my will and self-control and not let any silly fancies run away with me,” (). Even though the character has been told not to think too much and release too much energy, she is expected to control all of her thoughts while being held captive within her mind. At this point in the story, the character is becoming unhinged, so the pressure her husband put on her pushes her deeper into her deranged state. In total, this prescribed method of healing critically affected the main character, advocating for mental …show more content…
When the narrator begins revealing the oppression she is facing, it is evident she needs treatment. During this time period, though, women and mental health were completely misunderstood, resulting in doctors prescribing treatments they believed would help. The visions of the woman in the wallpaper and the narrator’s frequent pessimistic thoughts proved the treatments were unsuccessful. In the end, the narrator feels free from her marriage, but she is even more so trapped within her own mind. Furthermore, this writing reveals the need for mental health, even in modern times. Millions of people around the world are currently suffering similarly to the main character and not receiving proper treatment. By revealing to the audience the tragic details of being mentally ill, the author of this piece emits a call of action on the utmost importance of mentality. All in all, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman advocates for mental health through the main character’s inner thoughts, her husband’s prescribed method of healing, and their controlling marital

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