Analyzing "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman regarding mental illness in society past and today

Essay by joanjettUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, June 2004

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Illnesses of all kinds happen to people everyday. These people go to doctors, decide on treatment plans and eventually some do get better. Doctors, nurses and hospitals seem to create miracles daily with their advances to the medical profession in the 21st century. The main character in "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman could have benefited immensely from these findings but she was not born into our time and must make due with what she was given in hers. The question becomes does she really get better or does she just pretend to adhere to the advice given to her to cause the façade of recovery to protect herself from the stigma that attaches itself so strongly to mental illness and the people who suffer from it?

I wonder if the medical profession has advanced at all in the treatment of a patient who may have depressive or mentally unstable symptoms but are otherwise functioning.

Are they all getting bad advice and being labeled crazy when they are really just normal people going through hard times in their lives or is the medical community correct in their analysis that these people will never be altogether sane?

In the early 1900's when "The Yellow Wallpaper" was written modern medicine was very limited in its knowledge and resources. Doctor's did the best they could with the tools they had at their disposal but today's modern medical advances are leaps and bounds above anything the professionals of the early 1900's could even dream of. In a sense this may be where some of the confusion about treatment came from. The advice and "cures" prescribed were intended to treat the disorders at hand but lots of times they didn't come close or in fact caused opposite results. Blame cannot...