The story gives valuable and creditable evidence that the narrator was believed to have a mental illness, which was likely post part depression. In addition the treatment that her husband gave her well the excepted practice. There is overwhelming evidence to validate that the treatment for what she believed to have actually caused her mental breakdown. The narrator draws the audience in to attempt to elicit from them that she was not ill. She explains that she tries to tell her husband what she needs is to get out and do things, “Personally, I do not agree with their ideas.
Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good. But what is one to do? I did write for a while in spite of them…. I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus”(Steton, 648) and she really is okay “John is a physician, and perhaps (would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind-) perhaps that is one reason why I do not get better faster,”(Stetson, 647).
As the story progresses the narrator has the reader feel her helplessness, depression. It is so discouraging not to have any advice and companionship about my work…… I wish I could get well faster” (Stetson, 649). and her mental collapse. Do to her boredom she is left with nothing else but to dwell and focus on the house, “So I will let it alone and talk about the house,”(Stetson 648). The narrator even feels bad that she knows she needs to do more, but no one will hear her, “it does weigh on me so not to do my duty in any way! I meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort, and here I am a comparative burden already” (Stetson, 649).
The nameless narrator even pleads with him to move to another area of the house away from the room with the yellow wall-paper, as if knowing that it would ultimately be her demise. She even details the beauty of the room, and why she dislikes the wallpaper. It is if the wall paper itself was causing her pain, and regardless what she was saying no one would hear her. The isolation, mixed with hourly medications, tonics, wine and ale as well as the wallpaper is wearing her down, “It is getting to be a great effort for me to think straight.
Just this nervous weakness | suppose.. there are things in that paper that nobody knows but me, or ever will,”(Stetson 652). In a final plea to her husband to remove her from the room and the house which was denied and after such she quickly gave in to the hallucinations, “T thought it was a good time to talk, so I told him that I really was not gaining here, and that I wished he would take me away… really dear you are better. Better in body perhaps”, (Stetson, 652). Throughout the story the nameless narrator keeps reverting back to the wallpaper.
First in concrete rational ways of stating that it is basically ugly, but after spending three months taking the treatment regime that her husband, the physician, prescribed she becomes obsessed and hallucinates that there is a women in the wallpaper and that she and the wallpaper move. She attempts to get the reader to see her plight and how she is going the treatment because she doesn’t want to cause trouble and even talks herself into needing treatment through rationalization of why she is doing it.
During the time frame when this story was written, medicine was in its infancy, and they actually prescribed treatment that did do harm. Also, during that time frame women were thought of as material or possessions, not as rational equals (although looking back the medical field was not very rational either). The narrator even states that he doesn’t listen to her and she feels hopeless. ” It is so hard to talk to John about my care because he is so wise “(647).
She is not saying she finds him wise but the personification of the illusion. Postpartum depression is a type of clinical depression which can affect women after childbirth. Symptoms may include sadness, low energy, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, and reduced desire for sex, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability. All of which the narrator had described. Solitary confinement often pushed the woman who was merely aggravated to a state that truly could be considered mentally ill, (History of Women’s Mental illness, 2015).
Numerous times throughout the story the narrator tells of being giving numerous tonics, herbs, ales and wines. Tonics during that time were made of a lot of alcohol and with seriously addictive and health hazard additives like morphine, cocaine, opium, quinine, lithium, and salts to name a few (The Science Mudeum, n. d. ). Research indicates that many medicinal beverages and tonics began to contain cocaine – long-term users of which may suffer seriously disrupted eating and sleeping patterns, psychotic delusions and hallucinations.
Chloroform, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine were offered as solutions for everything from sore throats and toothache to coughs, insomnia and depression. Another additive and also a fungus that was placed into food during this time period was ergot. It caused some people to become manic, appear dazed, be unable to speak or have other forms of paralysis or tremors, and suffer from hallucinations and other distorted perceptions. The thinking is the mass hysteria of Salem Witch trials may be associated with this fungus.
Passionflower, an herb used to treat nerves, also have a hallucination side effect. Finally the possibility that the yellow wall paper had a fungus that grew in it and could have possible added to her mental decline, “There are always new shoots on the fungus, and new shades of yellow all over the it… But there is something else about that paper – the smell! I noticed it the moment we came into the room, but with so much air and sun it was not bad. Now we have had a week of fog and rain, and whether the windows are open or not, the smell is here.
But now I am used to it. The only thing I can think of that it is like is the color of the paper! A yellow smell… There is a very funny mark on this wall, low down, near the mopboard. A streak that runs round the room. It goes behind every piece of furniture, except the bed, a long, straight, even smooch, as if it had been rubbed over and over. ” (Stetson, 654) Mental illness, post partum depression, medicine, treatments and medicine in general was not readily understood in the 1800’s when this story was written.
By looking at the ethos, logos and pathos or the story, The Yellow Wallpaper, one can conclude that the no name narrator was no cally ill and the treatment for it at that time was actually the causative factor that concluded with her mental spiral downwards. Unfortunately she was a women in the 1800’s that was thought of as insignificant and her duty was to be quiet and serve her man. Because she was both name less and voice less her needs were never heard thus perpetuating the decline.