24 February 2005
No Work and No Play Makes Jane a Dull Girl
Jane in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” was “touched” as some say long before she was prescribed, and administered the “rest cure” by her husband for her then unknown ailment now called postpartum depression. The boredom and isolation of this cure only allowed her mind to venture farther down a dark and winding corridor of insanity.
Jane has recently had a child and is experiencing what we know today as postpartum depression. Back in the 1800's doctors had no understanding of these symptoms, so they chalked it all up to a temporary nervous depression. This was cured by a treatment called the “rest cure” popularized by Dr. S. Weir Mitchell. This remedy consisted mainly of isolation and bed rest. We now know that this does nothing to promote a healthy mind or body. But, at the time this was the best-known cure.
As a child Jane had hallucinations, “I used to lie awake as a child and get more entertainment and terror out of blank walls and plain furniture than most children could find in a toy-store.”(Gilman 593). This sort of behavior is more than just your average child’s rampant imagination. This is truly the sound of someone who is delusional and needs some form of psychological counseling.
This overly active quasi delusional behavior followed Jane to adulthood, and was noticed but dismissed as pure silliness by her husband even before the baby came about, “... he says that
Tyer 2 with my imaginative power and habit of story-making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to
lead to all manner of excited fancies...”(Gilman 592) Anytime Jane acted a little bit weird he would just say it was her hyperactive imagination at work again. Little did he know the depths of her problems that were to become evident over the next three months.
The demons in her mind first began to attack her psyche about ...
... middle of paper ...
...traits of a mentally unstable individual. The “rest cure” coupled with the postpartum depression
Tyer 4 she was experiencing merely accelerated the mental flaws she had, and brought about the inevitable. The cure had taken an already frangible mind and thrown it into complete and total disarray.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Literature: An Introduction to Reading And Writing. 7th ed. Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall. 2004. 590-600.
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