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Treatment of Mental Disorders Exposed in The Yellow Wallpaper

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“The Yellow Wallpaper” is the story of a woman descending into psychosis in a creepy tale which depicts the harm of an old therapy called “rest cure.” This therapy was used to treat women who had “slight hysterical tendencies” and depression, and basically it consisted of the inhibition of the mental processes. The label “slight hysterical tendency” indicates that it is not seen as a very important issue, and it is taken rather lightly. It is also ironic because her illness is obviously not “slight” by any means, especially towards the end when the images painted of her are reminiscent of a psychotic, maniacal person, while she aggressively tears off wallpaper and confuses the real world with her alternative world she has fabricated that includes a woman trapped in the wallpaper. The narrator of this story grows obsessed with the wallpaper in her room because her husband minimizes her exposure to the outside world and maximizes her rest. Academic essayists such as Susan M. Gilbert, Susan Gubar, and Elaine Showalter have a feminist reading of the story, however, this is not the most important reading. The author experienced the turmoil of the rest cure personally, which means that the story is most likely a comment on the great mistreatment of depression, hysteria and mental disorders in general. Despite the claims of Gilbert, Gubar, and Showalter that “The Yellow Wallpaper” is solely feminist propaganda, their analysis is often unnecessarily deep and their claims are often unwarranted, resulting in an inaccurate description of a story that is most importantly about the general mistreatment of psychosis and the descent into insanity regardless of gender.
When things are stretched too thin, they become less sturd...


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...show that it is a feminist reading, which is unconvincing. In the end, there is more information supporting the fact that it is not about women, and is about all people dealing with this issue. The message of the “The Yellow Wallpaper” is concerning the unfair and wrongful treatment of mental disorders.



Works Cited

Charters, Ann. The Story and Its Writer. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011. Print.
Gilbert, Sandra M. and Susan Gubar. “A Feminist Reading of ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’.” The Story and Its Writer. Ann Charters. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. 1629-1631. Print.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper”. The Story and Its Writer. Ann Charters. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. 462-473. Print.
Showalter, Elaine. “On ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’.” The Story and Its Writer. Ann Charters. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. 1631-1636. Print.


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