The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story published in 1982 that addresses the marital, mental and social struggles that its orator is facing. Jane, the narrator, is a newly wed young lady who Just gave birth to her first child. Jane mentions that she has a nervous disorder that most likely in today’s scientific terminology would be referred to as post-part depression. John, the narrator’s husband, is a physician and holds strong beliefs about how he thinks his wife will get better.
John doesn’t allow their newborn baby to sleep in the same room as his wife and cuts Jane off from any form of society or activity that she wishes. Jane then obsesses about the yellow wallpaper in her room that contains the image of a woman all over it. She projects her loneliness, captivity, isolation, depression and eagerness for freedom onto the images on the wall as if identifying that the woman in the wallpaper is also lonely, held captive, isolated, depressed and eager to Jump out, and so she dramatically tore down all the wallpaper in her room in an attempt to set that character free.
Exploring the territory in which John’s character is important and the symbolizing impact that his vocational career has on the overall theme as a physician may contribute to the greater problem. John’s approach would be very surprising for physician today who’s immediate response would be on the opposite side of the spectrum, resorting to medicinal treatment for a quick fix. In reality both approaches are not effective and exploring the deterioration of mental health in the midst of spousal and social neglect is the focus of this paper.
Health matters, whether men or women health does not only mean physical wellbeing. Today’s world is sugar coated with obsessive behaviors towards attaining a so-called “healthy look”. A fit woman who is not overweight and who takes all her vitamins properly, eats well spaced meals, drinks a lot of fluids and exercises is leveled to be healthy but what about mental wellbeing? Women are taken for granted a lot of the times when it comes to care giving roles.
Being a mom, a wife, a girlfriend, a nurse or a housekeeper, women are assumed to deliver acts of care. Sometimes it seems as if society is exaggerating the care aspect that women can provide but believe it or not according to Ann Oakley in her article “Beyond the Yellow Wallpaper” “women are the major social providers of health and health care services, and they are also the principal consumers of health and medical care services.
Women’s mortality rates are higher than men’s what makes it very surprising when in reality women are the caregivers for a better health. “Emotional support promotes health”, says Oakley, because women are relational and deal with relationships on a personal level because naturally social neglect creates a big void. The contribution that women have had on the healthcare and medical systems has sadly been mostly apparent in the lower strata of the professional ladder.
We do not see an increasing number of female doctors or nurses but the trend seems to be swaying more awards an increasing number of household managers surprisingly because of the sociological stigma that women are rebelling against the idea that they only want to be involved in their vocational career rather than enjoying the process of childbearing and motherhood. ‘Stay-at-home moms’ is not the term of choice in this situation because truly women are professional ‘household managers’ and deserve to be granted such a title.
When asked about mental health, many factors come to play and of those factors the mentality that has changed over time about mental patients has gone through significant transformations. All throughout the 18th century and well into the 19th century, there weren’t any special institutions for those suffering from mental illnesses because the vast majority was expected to live in a general lifestyle for as long as they could manage in hopes that their mental state would improve on its own.
Norman Danni observed this reality and wrote a Journal article known by the name of “The Chronic Mental Patient In 19th Century America. ” Late 18th century early 19th century only the fortunate “insane” was sent to institutions, not enough repressions attention was allocated to those with chronic illnesses and only those with curable cases were attended to immediately (Danni , 1980). When social neglect and lack of emotional support is the topic of discussion, it is impossible not to take into account those who are displaced and uprooted from their communities.
In the research article “Immigrant and refugee women’s post-part depression help-seeking experiences and access to care” from Alberta, Canada the reason why some women suffer from post-part depression and others do not cannot be fully Justified however, the research maintains interest in the 33. % of Albertan gross population who are of immigrants in addition to the 27,100 refugees (Mahoney and Donnelly 2010).
Immigrant and refugee women are more susceptible than others to develop PDP, not to mention the four main risk factors that have been identified to be lack of social support, multiple roles, stressful life events, and language barriers. Significant findings contribute to the background information stating that different cultures perceive PDP differently. For most Asian countries for example, PDP is understood to be an absolutely natural response that accompanies Hilbert. There would be absolutely no significance to all of this research if it does not all reflect back onto the short story at hand (The Yellow Wallpaper).
Jane sees herself as an avid writer and is prohibited to enjoy her passion as an author. The weight of knowing that she cannot perform the one thing that her heart desires creates a feeling of suffocation and imprisonment in her. Not only is she prohibited from writing but she is also denied any physical activity or movement that she wishes to perform taking away all forms of freedom. John is Cane’s husband who is also a hysteria and from the narrator’s tone Cane) their marriage does not seem to be one that is full of excitement and happiness.
He has asked for his sister and housekeepers to keep a close eye on Jane to make sure that she does not tire herself nor write. He explains to his wife that all he wants is for her to get better and that these ‘boundaries’ are in her best interest when in reality they are far more harmful than any already manifested mental disease that she has. When women are deprived to perform they lose their touch with reality; John only views his wife as a means to production and pleasure but no more than that.
He has her imprisoned in what is thought to be a luxuriously beautiful house but to her is Just a miserable prison cell. “He asked me all sorts of questions, too, and pretended to be very loving and kind. As if I couldn’t see through him! ” was Cane’s internal response and perspective on John after he asked her if she had slept well. This behavior does not surprise a health professional as myself, however it does portray a lot of concrete evidence towards the ignorance that society had in how to deal with patients that Just needed some mental purport.
John’s questions were birthed out of mere routine and basic conversation skills not taking into consideration the depth in which his wife analyzed and interpreted all that he said though an unhealthy and unstable lens. Jane herself is unable to contribute to her health improvement. There is no doubt that she is suffering from post-part depression and maybe other forms of mental illness however, her view of herself is reduced to her reflection against the yellow wallpaper.
Not in an attempt to summarize but to shed the light on the importance of research hen it comes to women’s health, it looks like social support continues to be a constant need in whatever time or place. As it has been previously communicated women are different from men in that their need for social support is magnified when they go through certain physiological changes. The narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper had Just given birth to her first child, and so her body is already undergoing numerous hormonal modifications that require special attention for a healthy transition. References: -Danni, N. (1980).