Mental Illness In Ernest Hemingway's The Yellow Wallpaper

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The woman is trying to get better, and knows what she needs to do, but she is constantly being shut down by her husband and society. Her husband, John, who, being a physician, doesn’t believe anything without concrete scientific proof, so he assumes there is nothing wrong with her that “rest” won’t cure. Rather than allowing her to choose the manner of this rest, he chooses an isolated, ugly bedroom. He develops strict rules she must abide by: no socialization with others, no talking about her illness, and, most importantly, no writing! Her husband leaves her with one thing to do which is, stare at the stomach-turning wallpaper and go insane. He overlooks every clue regarding her illness because of society. He has no intention of worrying about…show more content…
For centuries people who suffered from mental illnesses were viewed by society as having religious punishment or possessed. There is a stereotype for people suffering a mental illness centuries ago and still to this day; crazy. The reason I know this because one of my best friends suffers from depression and Bi-Polar disorder. He sees the world black and white. He is a mental health advocate along the East coast. In the story, John denies her any mental or social outlet, which increases her nervous intellect,anxiety. She then begins to lose herself in the wallpaper, becoming so obsessed; she gradually sees her real repressed self in the paper. I believe this is were we see the beginning of her insanity. Her mental illness progresses dramatically because of Jon’s vision to cure her. The woman's descriptions of the wallpaper seem to symbolize the evolution of her illness and through the paper, eventually in the paper, she sees herself. Her description of the wallpaper is significant, “It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance, they suddenly commit suicide--plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions” (Gilman 381) . This paragraph is extremely important to the story, portraying not only how the woman feels about herself, but also what…show more content…
She is limited interaction with her baby, not able to satisfy her husband, and unable to live the life she wants. Gilman's obvious intention is to show that in a society world, the woman’s only way of escaping and celebrating who she is to go insane. Though she feels better when she writes, and feels it may be beneficial, she does not say a word. "Personally I disagree with their ideas," she writes. "Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good. But what is one to do?” (Gilman 380-386) The repeated statement, "What is one to do?" shows her lack of self-confidence and feeling of inferiority. She speaks as though her opinions to do not count, and she accepts this as fact. Her role as a wife and mother vanishes and her role as a human being belittles throughout the story. "I meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort, and here I am a comparative burden already. (Gilman 381)” She allows herself to be controlled by John, and she lacks self-confidence and self-expression; which aggravates her initial medical condition. My great grandmother refused to talk, show affection, and care for her husband. She was unable to fulfill the roles of a wife towards my great grandfather. He saw her as an embarrassment to him and both had to put on a mask while out in

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