Yellow Wallpaper

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Matt Schreurs
10/9/2012
English 110
Prof. Lund
Paranoid Paper
When a person is locked up for to long with no social interaction, insanity is likely to arise. The Yellow Wallpaper points out a crucial point about how women were treated back in the 1900’s. In the 1900’s women were often forbidden to work by men and diagnosed with temporary nervous depression (Wikipedia, 10). When a woman was diagnosed with the disorder they were often locked up or isolated (Wikipedia, 10). Men had an abundance of power back then. John had forced his wife to be locked upstairs in their home and ordered that she be socially isolated. . It seems John doesn’t do anything to help his wife out which leads us to wonder what role did John have in his wife going insane? John was the main and whole reason for her being sucked into insanity. He did this by locking her in a room secluded from the world and refused to listen to her comments and didn’t allow her to have any emotional release

John is the very reason that his wife went insane, but he pretends that he is doing the right thing to help her. When John decided to lock her in the nursery upstairs she began to go insane. John sensed that something was wrong with his wife and decided if he couldn’t fix her then the best alternative was to socially isolate her. Her husband is constantly telling her lies to make him feel better about her and so she won’t go entirely insane. Even though she realizes that the environment needs to be changed in order for her to get better John wont listen to her because he feels that she is not rational and that she is just trying to fancy herself. This infuriates her and starts to make her depressed, which throws her farther into insanity.

Social isolation was a very commonly used therapy method back in the 1900’s. This method was used when a man felt that his wife was becoming irrational or having a nervous depression (Ruth, 14). This was only used for women, and it was common for a woman to be prescribed to this method (Ruth, 12). A woman was assigned to social isolation if she was not cheerful and gay towards being locked up in the home as it was the social role of women (Wikipedia, 10). The impact on one’s life can be devastating as well as life threatening. Some of the effects it can have is: decreased energy, fatigued quicker, greater chance for chronic illness, increased depression, decreased level of happiness and life in general, and shorter life spans (Social,2). She had asked John multiple times if they could move or at least go outside, but he denied her every time. She had also told him that if she could just read or write that it would help her get better faster but John told her that “There is nothing so dangerous, so fascinating, to a temperament like yours.”(Gilman,117). John was hoping that telling her this would suppress her want to get out and socialize.

Gilman herself was forced into social isolation because she kept having nervous breakdowns when she would write about her kids and family. She was told to have total bed rest, isolate from friends and family, to overfeed (Wohlpart,13). She was taught to be submissive as well as domestic and was told to never touch a pen, pencil, or brush for as long as she lived (Wohlpart,13). Gilman was instructed to either pick family or work. After long controversy she choose her family and divorced her husband (Wohlpart,13). She ended up feeling more depressed then ever, while falling to insanity she was diagnosed with breast cancer and committed suicide (Wohlpart,13).

Dealing with people’s problems by trying to securitize them brings out a key point about society that most people try to overlook. Gilaman tries to put the problem in direct view so we consciously see it. Gilman does this by pointing out that John won’t let her go out in public or have any interactions with others, which is exactly what she thinks will help her. John won’t let her because he doesn’t want anybody else to see that his...
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