References to the Rest Cure in The Yellow Wallpaper The phrase 'rest cure'isn't explicitly mentioned in The Yellow Wallpaper, but the narrator does refer to it in detail. At night the narrator is able to see a woman behind bars within the complex design of the wallpaper. It is regarded as an important early work of American literature, due to its illustration of the attitudes towards mental and physical health of women in the 19th century. The causes of neurasthenia were thought to be gender-specific: while men succumbed from overwork, women suffered from too much social activity, sustained or severe domestic trials e. In order for the rest cure to work, patients were secluded from family and friends and they were not allowed to read, write, sew, or sit up in bed 20. The story became a standard part of the curriculum in U. .
Sharpe, Michael and Simon Wessely. He saw these external indicators as virtually infallible evidence of a cure, regardless of what the patient might say about her mental state. North, but she loses the very spirit that makes her a compelling female character at the beginning of Characteristics. Mitchell believed that with food and rest, the body could gain weight, therefore, replenishing red blood cells and curing the patient 18. This story takes up ten pages in our class textbook.
That's 80,000-100,000 people who risk serious mental injury as a result of isolation, guys. Playfair and his Neurasthenic Patients. In 1887 after the birth of her daughter, Gilman became severely and sought treatment for nervous exhaustion by psychiatrist Silas Weir Mitchell. While the rest cure is today associated with nervous women, it actually began as a treatment for injured veterans during the Civil War. Reading about stuff like this just absolutely blows my mind.
This essay will touch on all of these points, particularly the spread of the treatment in Britain and the role of the rest cure in literature. What is The Yellow Wallpaper About and Why Should I Care? Gilman was treated by Dr. Sorrowful, They haunt reproachfully some venal hour In days of joy, and when the world is near, And for a moment scourge with memories The money changers of the temple-soul. Blamed treatment failures on the patients Those who did not recover must not have been following his orders Poirier 22. Such a story ought not to be written, he said; it was enough to drive anyone mad to read it. In fact, she says he 'hardly lets me stir without special direction.
She was forbidden to touch pen, pencil, or brush, and was allowed only two hours of mental stimulation a day. Do you think the rest cure should be prescribed to patients today? His first nervous breakdown occurred just after the Civil War, following the death of his young wife and his affluent Virginia physician father who had initially opposed his decision to enter medicine ; his second breakdown came three years after in 1872, following the death of his mother. Weir Mitchell, A Comedy of Conscience New York: The Century Co. Journal of the Australasian Universities Modern Language Association. With the woman in the yellow wallpaper she did not get the right help so she lost her mind. Abandoning her timidity, which Sibyl sustains throughout Dr. It had great popularity in the 19th century as a way to treat women with mental illnesses that might later be termed generalized anxiety disorder or major depression.
The narrator was coddled and pampered as if she were a child; however, John did not attend to her when she needed him. Richard Feldstein and Judith Roof Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1989 , 269-79. The relationship between the narrator and the wallpaper within the story parallels Gilman's relationship to the press. The author Charlotte Perkins Gilman was sent to Silas Weir Mitchell and was prescribed the Rest Cure. Weir Mitchell, Characteristics New York: The Century Co. Her husband chooses for them to sleep there due to its multitude of windows, which provide the air so needed in her recovery. A photo of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, circa 1900 Lesson Summary The rest cure was invented in the late nineteenth century by Silas Weir Mitchell and became popular among American and British neurologists.
The wallpaper changes colors when it reflects light and emits a distinct odor which the protagonist cannot recognize p. Her loneliness and her total separation from her family are dwelt on, and make an effective argument against this cure. She was at first forbidden pen and ink, but then allowed to work on her novel Night and Day, 1919 for a few hours each day. For consistency, this article refers to her throughout as Gilman. Although Katherine initially dislikes Vincent, she becomes so enamored of his forceful personality that she seduces and marries him. The project began as a one-act stage play titled, Yellow Book 2013.
At the time in which her works take place, between 1840 and 1890, women were exceedingly defined as lesser than—sickly and weak. In fact, he rarely attended to her. The narrator in the story is trying to find a single meaning in the wallpaper. This essay grew out of a Collaborative Student-Faculty Research Grant funded by Skidmore College during the summer of 1990. Instead of dutifully climbing into bed after every meal as Sibyl Maywood does, Gilman's narrator escapes what she considers to be punitive rest by feigning sleep. Which gender was the rest cure typically prescribed to? Another physician, in Kansas I think, wrote to say that it was the best description of incipient insanity he had ever seen, and--begging my pardon--had I been there? Answer all the questions on a separate sheet of paper.
The behavior of Gilman's narrator also diverges from that of the female protagonists in Dr. He humours her complaints thinking they are simply the ravings of a woman. The novel describes what must have been a common phenomenon. Now the story of the story is this: For many years I suffered from a severe and continuous nervous breakdown tending to melancholia--and beyond. This is interpreted as a victory over her husband, at the expense of her sanity. But the rest cure had a social as well as a scientific rationale.