The Yellow Wallpaper

It seems like every time I take one of Nancy Risch's classes I always end up reading "The Yellow Wallpaper" but it is a great story so I don't really mind all the much. Last semester in American Women's Studies, we read a piece on the reasons behind the story and what the author hoped to get out of it. It mentioned that she wrote the story as a sort of warning to both doctors and their patients that isolation and rest is not a cure for depression or insanity, in fact it often makes the situation worse. I have personal experience that shows that doctors now understand that the rest and isolation treatment don't always help; they wanted to admit me to a mental ward for a while a few years back but they thought it might make my condition worse so they sent me to a psychiatrist instead. I'm very grateful for that decision too because who knows what isolation would have done to me or my family for that matter, I could be peeling off the wood paneling in my room by now or something. I've never understood on what grounds that doctors in the past based their treatments, most of the antiquated remedies made things worse or created another problem altogether. Take for instance bloodletting, physicians would cut open the veins and bleed out the parasite that was causing an illness but it only did one thing for certain and that was cause severe anemia or infection. I often wondered what exactly was wrong with the young woman in the story; was she just depressed or was she bi-polar or schizophrenic or did she have a severe case of postpartum depression? The author is never quite clear about what ails her or even what her name is. No matter what I think this story is really interesting and fun to analyze

1 comment:

  1. So sorry! That's because it's in all the literature books, and it has a lot of good points for discussion in it. And as for Women's Studies, well, we just have to do it in that class!