Female Gothic In The Yellow Wallpaper

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In 1877, S. Weir Mitchell published Fat and Blood: And How to Make Them, where he promoted the “rest cure” for neurasthenia. The cure refers to a drastic lifestyle change through “renewing the vitality of feeble people by a combination of entire rest and of excessive feeding” (qtd. in Martin 736). Charlotte Perkins Gilman received the same rest cure, which she portrayed in her story, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The narrator, later named as Jane, receives rest and feeding to cure her “temporary nervous depression,” the diagnosis and treatment from her husband-physician, John. Rest included staying in a colonial mansion, away from her infant and social relations and banned from writing. Several authors explored the feminist perspectives of the story…show more content…
In "Haunted House/Haunted Heroine: Female Gothic Closets in The Yellow Wallpaper”, Carol Davison argues that the narrator represents the Female Gothic mode that uses the supernatural to advance political ends. The political ends are autonomy and the ownership of the road to one’s identity, which is difficult for women in the nineteenth century. Davison asserts that the Female Gothic is different from the Male Gothic because the former has uniquely repressed fears and doubts due to their gender roles and expectations (50). The Female Gothic is concerned of her lost self and wants authority. Davison asserts that Jane emphasizes authority through writing “The Yellow Wallpaper”: “Authority” is crucial as her concerted act of secretly chronicling her side of the story, her unofficial version of events, is outlawed by her paternalist husband who…”refuses to believe that she is seriously ill” (Davison 56). The diary, or the story, shows the stark difference between a man’s world and a woman’s world, with the former using rational, cold science, while the latter relies on personal experiences and social interactions (Davison 57). Male physicians recommended phosphates or phosphides—whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to work, while she personally disagrees with their ideas because she thinks that “congenial work, with excitement and change, would do her good” (Gilman). These differences in treatments underscore the political nature of the story, as it challenges the rational medical structure as a component of a patriarchal society that does not actually help women with psychological
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