The Yellow Wallpaper and Its’ Relation to Sandra Fluke

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Haley Muggy Basuli SURVEY WOMENS LIT ENGL315A SEC 001 3/14/13 Option #2 The Yellow Wallpaper and its’ Relation to Sandra Fluke From the very beginning of “The Yellow Wallpaper”, written by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, it is clear that the main character is being oppressed and demeaned by her husband John. “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage,” she writes about her husbands’ reaction to her questions about their future summer home. The fact that she says that being mocked is expected in marriage is a sad thought, and makes me hope that we have come a long way when it comes to marital relationships since this story was written. This story is set in the 19th century, and was written to draw attention to the need for women’s physical and mental health to be taken more seriously. “Hysteria” was a common diagnosis seen in only women for hundreds of years in Western Europe. The symptoms of this disease that is no longer recognized by doctors are “faintness, nervousness, sexual desire, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in abdomen, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and ‘a tendency to cause trouble.’” (Wikipedia) To show how ridiculous the diagnosis of hysteria is, look at two of the contradicting symptoms: sexual desire and loss of appetite for sex. The character in The Yellow Wallpaper is told by her doctor husband that she is just nervous, and is suffering from hysteria. The main character writes of her clear confusion about why her illness is not being taken seriously by her husband. “If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression- a slight hysterical tendency- what is one to do?” She is clearly questioning her husbands’ diagnosis and

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