The Wallpaper Analysis

707 Words 3 Pages
The way in which John speaks to the narrator is infantilizing, as if he were addressing a child, rather than an adult woman. The domineering, pretentious speech with such expressions as “little girl,” in which he chastises her for leaving her bed to touch the wallpaper (Gilman 491), and “Bless her little heart!” (492), further highlight the hierarchy of power that exists within their marriage. John uses his power and his doctoral standing as a way to justify the rules set on his wife. He hangs his status over her head, pushing the idea that rest is the only cure for her mental deviance, and normal mind and body stimulation is something to be avoided at all costs. As she defies the doctor’s orders and continues to write, roam, and think freely, …show more content…
She internalizes the thought that her neuroses is the result of disobeying John’s orders, rather than the suffocating restrictions placed to imprison her in a room that she despises. A room in which she is locked in for so long, alone, that the walls morph into swirling patterns, shapes, and characters that fascinate and keep her …show more content…
She resents the proposition because “he is just like John and [her] brother, only more so!” (489). Weir Mitchell was the first to publish the “rest cure” as treatment for a physical and mental condition labeled as “neurasthenia” or “nervous exhaustion,” previously called “hysteria.” He treated Gillman herself for the same illness and assured that she was “not insane, only hysterical” (Poirier 17). Mitchell discovered that neurasthenia, unlike hysteria, could be subconsciously feigned as well as unconsciously present. Those diagnosed with tendencies to feign hysteria, much like John’s presumptions of his wife, were commonly associated with women. Most diagnoses made were caused by “overwork,” and in women, usually derived from “nursing sick family members, studying school lessons too intently during a time of important hormonal activity, or staying out too late and too often at social events” (Poirier 18). His conclusion, inherently sexist in nature, that women are physically and emotionally inferior to men, contributed to his psychoanalytic studies and eventually resulted in The Mitchell Rest

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