David Mitchell's Rest Cure Analysis

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Rest, diet, exercise, electroshock therapy, and isolation were all parts of Mitchell’s treatment plan to cure nervous, anxious, hysterical women. When these women did not respond to treatment, Mitchell assumed it was due to their villainous tendencies and their personal moral corruption. Though he sympathized with his female patients for the women’s work they must do and how overwhelming it must be to care for sick family members, he believed that those unaffected by his Rest Cure either did not want to be cured or were subject to the “moral poison” of a “selfish malingerer” (Poirier 22). Mitchell quoted that, “given a nervous, hysterical, feeble woman, shut out from the world, and if she does not in time become irritable, exacting, hungry …show more content…
She believes that she was once part of the wallpaper, a creepy, sulking figure, and now she has broken free. Her husband faints, adopting the characteristics of the feeble, weak woman, and she continues to creep about, stepping over his body to continue doing what she wishes to do. This mental breakdown can be seen as a revelation. A revelation that she does not need to listen to the orders given by her husband, and defiance is as simple as stepping over his body. This symbolizes Gilman’s desire to spread social awareness of the effects of the Rest Cure and to promote feminist ideals against the patriarchy.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman’s representation of the Rest Cure, social standards and expectations, the patriarchy, and stereotypes associated with women, creates a profound critique of the double bind that exists within women of the time period. By isolating women from social activities, limiting their activity and thought, and manipulating them into believing that they are morally corrupt, women seek freedom in whatever way they can. The narrator broke free of her husband’s chains and transported herself into a yellow world where she could finally be

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