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This essay serves as an in-depth examination of the literary work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” and the life of Perkins, before and after undergoing the Rest Cure treatment. Where most readers, researchers, and critics analyze “The Yellow Wallpaper” for the purposes of viewing the feminist motive and theme, in this essay Perkins’s work is evaluated from a medical perspective. In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman of course advances the cause of women’s rights much further than writers had previously done, but she also unconsciously uses her short story to depict an early form of what would become one of the most successful branches of rehabilitative treatment. The analysis focuses intently on Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell’s Rest Cure, and there is extensive discussion on the reasons for which the Rest Cure lacked success and also on how it could have been made effective. The essay theorizes that the Rest Cure, as seen in “The Yellow Wallpaper” and in further research, was/should be considered an early and misused form of physical therapy, and concludes, using evidence from modern research and treatment, that physical therapy would be a successful cure for women with Post-Partum Depression.

Key Words: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Rest Cure, physical therapy


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18 Jul 2022
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  • Subject
    • English

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3218

  • Event date
    • 25 March 2016

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Anastasia Lin