The Yellow Wallpaper The Rest Cure Analysis

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In the late 19th century there was a popularized cure for mentally distressed women known as the ‘rest cure’. The ‘rest cure’ was basically a regime of keeping women forcibly in bed for extended hours, force feeding them large amounts of food, and removing any sort of creative or intellectual outlet. It was basically reducing the woman down to nothing if she was not willing to conform to the societal domestic standards of the time, and this being driven down into nothing is what inspired the work The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The work contains many symbols and themes, some of which exposed how the ‘rest cure’ was harmful to women which sparked a social movement to ban the ‘rest cure’. To be more specific, The Yellow Wallpaper is symbolic in that the story contains; John, the bars on the window, and the wallpaper as symbols to express what contributes to the overall theme of mental degeneration.
John is used in The Yellow Wallpaper as a symbol of the patriarchy of the society of the time, which in the psychiatric field only proved to hurt women instead of heal them. This is shown almost immediately by the fact that he is a physician by profession and even so does not believe his wife is actually sick. This is also reinforced by the fact that the narrator’s brother is a physician and says the same thing, it is merely her ‘nerves’ and that the rest cure will
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The reason it was so influential was because of how the symbols and themes were so clearly received by the people in the time period. People could clearly see patriarchal medical practices in Jon, the insanity that the wall paper represented, and how the bars showed how we needed to ‘escape’ from practices as these if they wanted to actually prevent mental degradation instead of improve

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