November 3, 2004
Examining Psychology.. My Favorite!!
After reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” one might start to wonder why every woman and wife at the turn of the twentieth century did not go mad. Not only does the degradation of women in society and marriage seem appalling, but the treatment of nervous conditions seems rather unbelievable as well. The role that women were expected to play in society in the late nineteenth century proves to be somewhat debasing, with women expected to stay home and take care of the home and children, as if that is all they are good for. While many people find this absurd, they would probably be just as shocked to learn about the treatment recommended for those with nervous disorders. And what does one expect to happen when women are kept from tending to the house and children, what was probably the only thing many women knew how to do because of the role that society thrust them into, and left to wallow alone in their depression and anxiety? The protagonist of “The Yellow Wallpaper” was not lucky enough to live during a time of gender equality, psychiatric advancements, and empathetic treatment of psychological disorders. Instead of being able to go about her normal routine, she was, for the most part, confined to the yellow room, denied socialization and any sort of outlet to convey her thoughts and feelings, and all the while, expected to improve her physical and mental health on her own. What happens when a woman is deprived of the domestic life that she is forced into by society? It seems that the nineteenth century mindset of women being inferior to men, and the ignorance with which John approaches his wife’s case led her condition to become extremely more severe.
Posted by MelissaHagg at November 3, 2004 1:19 AM
These are just simple thoughts that came to my mind and I did after reading and text that I found interesting when reading that of "The Yellow-Wall Paper." I encourage feedback and discussion that further investigates the text!!
While certainly for some, the role of wife and mother during the time this was written did not make for a satisfactory life, in and of itself did not drive most woman mad. The narrator was probably suffering extreme hormonal fluctuations that added to her despair. I wonder if the "rest cure" was imposed on depressed men as well...or did they not admit to depression? Ironically, Gilman herself practiced an early form of "cognitive therapy" by becoming pro-active in her own recovery and choosing what she instinctivley knew to be mentally healthy.
I agree that it was wrong of the way John treated his wife. But I think it was common behavior of men to act this way. Nowadays, no women would tolerate it. John was just making sure his wife was fully recovered, even if it was to do housework, organizing parties, etc. I know that it is unfair of women to be treated like this, but it was acceptable in the late 1800's. Things have changed a lot since then. I am not sure whether or not what exactly made the women suffer from depression. What is John's unattentive behavior and not fulfilling a husband's role or was it the ugly yellow wallpaper? What are your thoughts? I think that both factors contributed to her illness. I'm looking forward to hear from you and to view your opinions. Your blogs are very in depth and very informative. Keep up the great work :)
I am going to flip the token: what about men today? The new thing I have heard so much about lately is men feel emasculated because women are stepping up to bat, are shattering glass ceilings. Are men now treated poorly? Are women starting to cross traditional gender roles and becoming more dominating? Are women getting to be uncomfortably powerful to men?
Just curious as to your thoughts; especially, since this relates to your major. :)
I am really glad that you commented on my blog. I see exactly where you are coming from and I really do like to hear your comments because I think that they are so insightful. I don't know exactly if men would actually have admitted that they were depressed or not. However, I had to do an interview for a psychology course with an older individual to see their views on such disorders as were mentioned in this story. I came to be very surprised to find that men were actually looked upon as weak to admit that they had such things wrong as psychological problems. This was the viewpoint from this man. I hope it kind of helps you to realize the advancements that we have made with psychological treatments a little more. Thanks for your thoughts!! I really appreciate them!
I find it very interesting that you asked that question because I have actually decided to do my second paper on this topic. I believe that the whole story was written to portray the woman trying to escape the subordination of society. We see this in "The Yellow Wall-Paper" through themes of gender equality issues, psychological disadvantages, and lack of empatheic treatments for the psychology based disorders. I plan to write more in my blog of what I have so far in my paper since you have mentioned and brought up such interesting points. I will add a URL to the new and improved viewpoints as soon as I get them done. Thanks again for giving me your thoughts!
I really do not believe that men are beginning to be debased in society today. I think that men are afraid of the power that women are holding nowadays because they simply feel threatened. I do not believe that all women are treating men poorly. I believe the power is starting to turn to be equal in someway. What do you think? Do you think this is what is happening in society today? I really hope to hear your thoughts as well.
I just wanted to let you know as well as all of the other commenters that I have decided to research this topic further because of your ideas that were posted. Please go to it and see what you think!! Thanks for the comments!! Keep them coming!! :)
Good blog on the Yellow Wallpaper. That story was probably my favorite, and it is a wonder why women in the 19th century didn't go crazy. I could not even imagine living back then and being so surpressed and confined. It is also facinating to realize how much we've advanced medically and psychologically over the past century.
Again, I'm just a random commentor, but I have a question for you:
Some have said that 'The Yellow Wallpaper' could possibly be a ghost story. Ignoring that Charlotte Gilman plainly stated that it is about the protagonist going mad, there is some merit in the thought.
When she first arrives at the house she says there's something off about it: doesn't feel quite right, and is far too nice to have come so cheap. The room where the wallpaper is shows physical signs that what happened to her had happened before. The wallpaper was torn off at about head height, the bedstead was "fairly gnawed", there were metal rings in the wall (for god-knows what reason), and there was the "smooch" around the room.
What are your thoughts?