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The Connection Between Creativity And Insanity

1291 words - 6 pages

In the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman it takes place in the 19th century where dealing with mental disorders was as similar as dealing with any physical disorder. Paranoia was a very common mental disorder back in the 19th century. In fact, “Under the unerring scrutiny of the two bulbous eyes in the yellow wallpaper, the narrator passes through stages from concern to paranoia and, finally, to madness” (Bak P5). This quote shows her development in to madness by the creative description the narrator gave about the yellow wallpaper. The relationship between creativity and madness are closely tie together because the narrator only thinks about the yellow wallpaper, with what it signifies, which drives her to complete madness.
Back in the 19th century prisons were used to isolate murderers and writers with mental disorders. Zott said “Writer of the early 19th century imagined the prison as a place for the idealized suffering and monastic isolation that were necessary for creativity and growth.” (Zott P6). Writers back then had to be contained in prisons to not harm anyone in the world. Society in the 19th century placed in citizen’s mind that writers and people with mental disorders should be confined. Zott stated “They also acknowledge a certain degree of confinement as a condition of their art” (Zott P5). The article talks about how writers think that because of their art they should be confined. The prisons back then had lots of immovable furniture, which made their madness worse by them being so confined in one area. John S. Bak states again “She is bothered by the immovable bed but gnaws on its leg to free it; and she even remains curiously dispassionate about being shackled with the rings.” (Balk P7). It shows how trapped she is and how she had no rational cause to prove what she did was logical. This proves that immovable beds in prisons could possibly drive someone in to madness.

The narrator’s curiosity to think creative is astonishing. Gilman says "I used to lie awake as a child and get more entertainment and terror out of blanks wall and plain furniture than most children could find in a toy-store.” (Gilman P4). This shows how much creativity she has than an ordinary child. As she grows older so does her creativity, once the narrator finds out that she is going to have to stay in a room with very ugly wallpaper. She cannot do anything other than to describe the wallpaper, which only drives her further into madness. The narrator says “There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down” (Gilman 10). By her defining the wallpaper it shows her mental state is getting worse. In the 19th century what people did to “cure” insanity was to isolate them. But John S. Bak states that “To be sure an individual subjected to observation can become paranoid and succumb to madness and separation: fist from society then from self.” (Bak P6). This talks about...

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