Treatment of Mental Disorders Exposed in The Yellow Wallpaper

1999 Words 8 Pages
“The Yellow Wallpaper” is the story of a woman descending into psychosis in a creepy tale which depicts the harm of an old therapy called “rest cure.” This therapy was used to treat women who had “slight hysterical tendencies” and depression, and basically it consisted of the inhibition of the mental processes. The label “slight hysterical tendency” indicates that it is not seen as a very important issue, and it is taken rather lightly. It is also ironic because her illness is obviously not “slight” by any means, especially towards the end when the images painted of her are reminiscent of a psychotic, maniacal person, while she aggressively tears off wallpaper and confuses the real world with her alternative world she has …show more content…
For example, she claims that the “yellow smell” that the narrator speaks of is actually the smell of urine and diapers (1635). The problem with this is that by the time the narrator is smelling this yellow smell, she has already become quite consumed with psychosis. She is already irrational, especially since she considered burning the house to get rid of the smell. “Round and round and round - round and round and round - it makes me dizzy!” (Gilman 470) are her thoughts about a mark along the wall. A common description of insanity is the repetition of actions while irrationally expecting different results. The narrator’s endless tracing of the mark is reminiscent of this description. Clearly, Showalter could not have any idea what the yellow smell was because the narrator is vastly unreliable. For all Showalter knows, the yellow smell could be lemons, but most likely it is just a hallucination because the narrator is insane. Showalter also implies that the rental house is actually an old private mental hospital (1633), which has no grounds since there is far more information supporting the fact that it is merely a rental house, just as the narrator says. Even if barred windows are used in asylums, they are also common features in old houses, especially if children had lived there. Beds and other furniture are often nailed down in rental houses or hotels
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