29 September 2017
The Yellow Wallpaper: Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
In 1892, Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote a controversial story called “The Yellow Wallpaper.” This story was ultimately a narration of her life. Although we know that this story is a narration of Charlotte’s life, the reader never discovers the main characters name. In the time period that this story was published I believe the theme of this story shows the reflection of how woman were oppressed even when they needed help the most. Throughout the story the narrator talks as if she was writing journal entries and shares her inner most hopes, desires, and anxieties. Its noted in the story her husband John and also her doctor has given her limited to no access to the outside world, restricted all creativity, and is confined to a room with the bars on the windows and a bed bolted to the floor because her nervous behaviors. As the story goes on this one room he has confined her to has this dreaded yellow wallpaper that gives her anxiety, which makes her go mad.
So when I started reading this short story, it seemed as if this woman would be telling a story about a haunted house that her and her husband recently moved into. The setting is set solely in an old colonial mansion that John; the narrator’s husband had rented out for a short term to see if it helps with her nervosa. She paints this picture of the house as being “the most beautiful place! (226)” even though a lot of the house is broken down but she tends to see the beauties that are withheld in the house. This story is told in the first person point of view and makes you feel as if you are reading her journal tries or talking with her face to face. Although you are on this personal level with this narrator, you never discover her name. I believe that Gilman did this for a reason and the reason being that she had everything stripped from her and so why not her name? A persons’ identity is a huge part of a person’s wellbeing. In the story I noticed the narrator talk about her illnesses and that her husband is her physician. She recently she had a child with John and her mental stability is not at her highest so they have Mary and Jennie look after him and her. “Of course its only nervousness. It does weigh on me so not to do my duty in any way! (228).” John thinks the cure for her nervous behaviors is to rest, take in all the fresh air and build strength. This was one of many treatments for hysteria and it was called the rest cure and was very common in this time period.
The rest cure was a treatment of hysteria, neurasthenia and other nervous illnesses and was developed by Silas Weir Mitchell in the late 1800s. This treatment was put into effort to calm woman down and so she could resume her proper position in the household. The definition for rest cure is a period spent in inactivity or leisure with the intention of improving one’s physical or mental health. Lock her up and she will...