Sometimes The Cure Is Worse Than The Disease By Martha Moody

1151 Words 5 Pages
Martha Moody, an American author, once said, “Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease”, which was precisely the case for the nineteenth century rest cure. Developed by Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, the rest cure’s main idea was isolation. Patients would be kept away from friends and family for extended periods of time and be left alone, in an attempt to cure their mental illness. Often unsuccessful, the technique was mainly used by male physicians to treat women, forcing women to become submissive to a male power as their treatment. Charlotte Perkins Gilman herself was actually a patient of Dr. Mitchell’s, and her short story illustrates in a very in-depth and personal way, the dangers of the treatment. The rest cure was eventually put to sleep, …show more content…
Left with no way to communicate and voice her opinions and cares, she must seek refuge somewhere and does so in the wallpaper, “When her ability to express her artistic impulses is limited by her husband’s prescription of complete rest, her mind turns to the wallpaper, and she begins to find in its tangled pattern the emotions and experiences she is forbidden to record. By trying to ignore and repress her imagination, in short, John eventually brings about the very circumstances he wants to prevent” (Shumaker). When she cannot express her feelings and sooth her natural imaginative instincts, she feels lost and searches for some way to create her own self-image. Being shut up in the bedroom has made her feel empty and she needs something to fill her time and her soul. This leads her to project herself on the wallpaper and search for meaning within it, perhaps because she believes she is as horrid as it is. She is as tangled and twisted as its designs. John challenged her not to do so by picking this room and ignoring the narrator’s request to switch, only making her more intrigued by its pattern. Though John’s whole point was to prevent and cure her disease, he actually worsened it. …show more content…
One of them is the entire house and surrounding property they’re living on for the summer, “…the story takes place on an estate, which has fallen into a state of despair, three miles from the nearest village. This sense of isolation is frequently used in Gothic stories to create a foreboding tone” (“Style”). They are staying in the house for the duration of the narrator’s prescribed rest. It is a significant distance from other establishments and is not the best kept. This makes the reader, just like the narrator; imagine a ghostly and certainly haunted mansion that could only house something evil. It gives the reader can imagine of how far her isolation from anyone else really is and explains why she would be forced to dwell on such details as the wallpaper. Another symbol that should be thought of as a whole is the nursery she is kept in, “The nursery is said to represent nineteenth-century society’s tendency to view women as children, while the barred windows symbolize the emotional, social, and intellectual prison in which women of that era were kept. Finally, the bed is said by some critics to represent repressed female sexuality...” (“Style”). The description of the nursery adds to the narrator’s isolation and put a dark imagine in the reader’s mind. It shows how little freedom she and other women of her time had and explains why

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