• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Extracts from this document...


A Downward Spiral In the late nineteenth century, there was not a lot of information known about mental illness. Treatments prescribed to the mentally ill at that time were often bizarre, and cause the patients more harm than good. Suffering from a nervous breakdown after the birth of her daughter, Charlotte Perkins Gilman is all to familiar with the treatment at the time; isolation, and total rest. Drawing upon experiences from a month long stay at an asylum run by Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, Perkins felt compelled to write a short story, about a woman fighting her own battle with mental illness and the treatment prescribed to help her. In the short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper," the narrator's illness goes through three distinct stages. The first distinct stage of the narrator's illness is mild depression. She seems to be exhibiting the symptoms of the baby blues, also known as post-partum depression. ...read more.


She becomes secretive about her growing obsession with the wallpaper in her bedroom believing she might be sent off to Weir Mitchell- a prominent psychologist of the time- if she were to share her thoughts with her husband John, and sister-in-law Jennie. The narrator hallucinates about designs she is beginning to see in the wallpaper. She often talks about seeing eyes, what look like broken necks, and "[. . .] a woman stooping down and creeping behind that pattern" (Gilman 709) in the paper. She is also suffering from olfactory hallucinations and complains that the wallpaper has a peculiar smell that radiates over everything. At this point in the story it becomes apparent not only is the narrator failing to get better but she is continuing to deteriorate with each passing moment. The final distinct stage of the narrator's illness is severe psychosis. The narrator is becoming extremely paranoid . ...read more.


. . .] And I've pulled off most of the paper so you can't put me back in" (Gilman 714). In conclusion, the narrator's illness goes through three distinct stages: mild depression, severe depression, and severe psychosis. By drawing upon her treatment experiences and including Dr. S. Weir Mitchell's name in her story, Gilman was able to make a statement about the treatment of mentally ill patients. Above all else, Gilman wanted it to be known that the rest and isolation treatment or depression might help contribute to escalating problems. Years later, Gilman was told Dr. Mitchell had read "The Yellow Wallpaper" and changed the treatment he used for depression. Today, treatments for mentally ill patients have been improved. Most people have a rudimentary understanding that one needs friends, excitement, and escape to help battle depression rather than isolation. Perhaps if Charlotte Perkins Gilman would have had a more modern treatment, a unique literary treasure would have never been created. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Healthcare section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work