The Yellow Wallpaper Research Paper

The Yellow Wallpaper Research Paper - Weinstein 1 Jacob...

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Weinstein Jacob Weinstein Ms. Miller English 102 4 April 2007 Papa John (Option # 1) Many critics of “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman have argued that the narrator suffers from a rare form of severe postpartum psychosis; as stated in The Mad Woman in the Attic by Gilbert and Gubar (89). A diagnosis of this nature would only occur in one in every one-thousand women who give birth. This illness has been known to lead to such problems as hallucinations, delusions, illogical thoughts, insomnia, refusing to eat, extreme feelings of anxiety, and in some tragic cases, suicide. Although many of these symptoms are present in the story that the narrator tells, the clear mental issue that she suffers from has a more complex explanation. The narrator’s depression and evident mental issues are nothing more than a psychosomatic conflict that stems from an extremely problematic and unhealthy relationship with her husband John. John is a physician of high standing. It is not stated whether or not he is qualified to pronounce a diagnosis on mental conditions, however it is assumed so when he diagnoses his wife with an acute form of nervous depression; so acute that he doesn’t believe she is sick at all. His beliefs are reinforced by the narrator’s brother, who is also a physician. Right off the bat, the narrator describes John as “practical in the extreme” (Gilman 667). This can be interpreted to mean that he is a black and white kind of guy. There is no grey area for John, and he has no interest in hearing the grey area’s 1
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Weinstein perspective. She continues by mentioning that he rejects the idea of any and all things not to be physically felt and seen. His “knowledge and experience” in his field, along with being the sheer dominant force that runs the narrator’s life, allows her to be easily convinced by his seemingly irrational diagnosis. He prescribes her drugs, and forbids her to work or even write her thoughts on paper, until she is well again. All of this is in contrast with what the narrator believes for herself. She believes that “congenial work, with excitement and change, would do her good” (667). She also explains that expressing her feelings on paper, which is what many people who suffer from anxiety issues are encouraged to do, is a great relief to her mind, “I think sometime that if I were only well enough to write a little it would relieve the press of ideas and rest me” (667). For a while, she is forced to secretly continue to write out her feelings in the form of the story itself. She later comes to the realization that the stress that comes from the effort of “creeping” around behind John’s back, is “getting to be greater than the relief” (672). “The cure, of course, is worse than the disease” (Gilbert/Gubar 89). Her husband John’s tyrannical influence over her has not only added to her mental instability, but is the sole source of
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The Yellow Wallpaper Research Paper - Weinstein 1 Jacob...

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