Charlotte Perkins Gilman Rest Cure Analysis

811 Words4 Pages

In “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the story of a woman suffering from postpartum depression in the nineteenth century is told. Since the condition, and mental illnesses in general, had not yet been thoroughly studied or diagnosed, physicians of the time had developed their own treatment, which the woman in the story is forced to take part in; the results are most certainly not what her husband must have intended. In the story, there are also several connections to the modern articles, “Rest Cure” from Science Museum and “Depression During and After Pregnancy” from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. An example would be the easy exhaustion of the narrator, even though she is allowed to do very little in the …show more content…

This treatment and its history are detailed in the article entitled “Rest Cure,” and in the article it is started that “It involved isolation from friends and family.” This aspect of the treatment is enforced in the story, as the narrator’s husband forbids her to interact with family members outside of the house. Cooped up in her attic room for most of the day, she becomes lonely and thinks of “how I wish he would let me go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia. But he said I wasn’t able to go, nor able to stand it after I got there” (Gilman 5). The narrator’s husband presumes that he knows what is best when it comes to her mental health and will not let her out of the house to socialize, as he perceives such an activity to be too mentally stimulating. This seems to have been a pattern among doctors who practiced this treatment: restricting or prohibiting activities thought to be too stimulating for the patient, even though this would most likely have the opposite intended effect on a patient with depression. As shown with the narrator in the story, the under-stimulation is frustrating to her at first and eventually leads to her brain providing its own stimulation in the form of

Show More
Open Document