Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Story, The Yellow Wallpaper, Isolating the Sick is not Medication

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Isolating the sick is only necessary if the ailing is contagious. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the isolation of Jennie was the major foundation of her illness. If Jennie was surrounded by loved ones, she would feel their love and be encouraged to get stronger. By being isolated from family and friends Jennie slips into her abandoned, bleak thoughts.
Her only way to express herself was through writing on “dead paper” in her journal. Those words alone should have been a warning signal. When one is sick they should be able to talk about it freely, articulate what they are going through, and vent their emotions out loud. Jennie should not have been isolating her thoughts to “dead paper.” Jennie’s husband John was present only when he had time in his schedule to care for her. He should have made time to be with his depressed wife. When John did come to visit, he only listened for a short period and never granted any of Jennie’s desires. On one occasion Jennie asked John to take down the wallpaper, but John would not see to it. He told Jennie to not “give way to such fancies.” If the wallpaper caused John’s wife such anxiety and made her feel disturbed, why couldn’t he take it down? The wallpaper did not cause this woman to go insane, isolation did.
Jennie’s newborn child was taken from her early after birth. Her son was given to a caretaker. This feat crippled the new mother. She was not only isolating her thoughts to “dead paper” but she was isolating the emotions of motherhood. She was moved out to the country and put in a nursery to heal her. Jennie worried for her son when she was sent away. She knew he was in good hands with Mary, but it made her nervous. If Jennie was surrounded by loved on...

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...think she was sick; she kept no restraint on her thoughts; and was abandoned with no one to listen to her. These three things caused Jennie to lose her life. One’s mind is a powerful thing, if left to wander the imagination can bring it to the point of insanity. Isolation should never be a medication.

Works Cited

Barnet, Sylvan, William Burto, and William E. Cain. "An Introduction to Literature." In The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 420-421. Pearson Longman, 2006.
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