The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Gilman

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Author Charlotte Gilman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” gives a personal short story about mental health care during her time. This account is personal, as the character in the story has experiences close to what author Gilman had during her period of receiving the ‘resting cure’ (Gilman). While many themes are described in the short story, the theme of passive health-care is especially prominent. The story delves into particular detail with the administration and effects of the resting cure in regards to the main character’s mental state. This paper will analyze the evidence given by “The Yellow Wallpaper” that the resting cure is not effective, give reasons why it may be due to the main characters need for a creative outlet, and examine the actual resting cure treatment.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the main character shows progressive degradation in her mental state as the personal recounts continue, showing that the resting cure was not working. From the beginning, details in the story suggested that she was an artistic, creative person. She makes comments about the yellow wallpaper in her recounts, bringing attention to the “…sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin” and the “…bloated curves and flourishes- a kind of “debased Romanesque” with delirium tremens”; something that would only be noticed by someone acquainted with art (Gilman 238 & 241). Also, her husband John makes reference to her “…imaginative power and habit of story-making”, further suggesting her creative intuition (239). With this in mind, a new outlook on her degrading mental state can be reached in regards to her inability to express herself due to the resting cure. The main character frequently references her desire to do any amount of creative...


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...l state. The story displayed the progressively decaying mind of the main character, enhanced by the large amounts of time she spend doing nothing but staring at the wallpaper on principle of the resting cure. Also, further research into Dr. Silas Mitchell revealed the peculiar nature of the resting cure, as well as the brutal methods with which it was delivered to the defiant. The lack of the continuation of this treatment speaks of its validity, and also of the experience for the patients. Ultimately, few people would even have the means to lay in rest all day, much less would they actually wish to do it. “The Yellow Wallpaper” does an excellent job at raising awareness of this primitive cure, how it negatively affected the main character of the story, and also gives incitement to further research the resting cure which reveals its ineffective and grotesque nature.

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