The Sickness Of The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1540 Words 7 Pages
Chelsea Helms
Lauren Allen
English 101-Section 070
11 November 2014
The Sickness of “The Yellow Wallpaper” In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the main female character is diagnosed with a “nervous condition” and is forced to live in an isolated environment with only her husband and a select few people for the summer. Throughout the story, her husband John, who is also a physician, treats her much like a child because of her supposed illness. During the 1800s, psychology had not been defined as a modern social science. People, specifically women, who experienced some abnormal symptoms such as fatigue, headache, and nervousness, were often diagnosed with a “nervous condition” also called neurasthenia in the 1800s. Treatment
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Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote the short story through her own experiences with post partum depression after having her daughter. The story details the summer a character spent while being treated with a special treatment that entailed harsh directions; the treatment that required strict diet, feeding, and absolutely no intellectual activity known, as the “Rest Cure.” Through the “Rest Cure”, the actions of the narrator, and the impact of the short story in reality, Gilman is able to clearly reflect on the issue of treating the mentally ill with such a drastic measure. Gilman’s reflections through “The Yellow Wallpaper” became significant in the culture of modern psychology and caused society to rethink the way people with these conditions should be treated. Several programs were founded such as the American Psychological Association and John E. Watson’s School of Behaviorism after “The Yellow Wallpaper” was published. Through the short story, the effects of the treatment on the narrator prove to society that using such dramatic prescriptions are more harmful than beneficial. The idea of limiting human beings to being intellectual, significantly distorted society’s idea of how to treat people with “nervous conditions.” Charlotte Perkins Gilman helped spark a new movement in society …show more content…
“The Yellow Wallpaper”. 2014. The Carolina Reader. Fall 2014 ed. Plymouth: Hayden-McNeil, n.d. 153-166. Print.
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"The Rest Cure." Science Museum. Brought to Life: Exploring the History of Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2014.

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