We will continue with what we were working on yesterday.
If you have completed the formalist analysis, then go ahead and read this:
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born on July 3, 1860, in Hartford, Connecticut. She published her best-known short story “The Yellow Wall-Paper” in 1892. One of her greatest works of non-fiction, Women and Economics, was published in 1898. Along with writing books, she established a magazine, The Forerunner, which was published from 1909 to 1916. Gilman committed suicide on August 17, 1935, in Pasadena, California.
During a period in her adult life, Gilman became depressed and was prescribed the “Rest Cure” developed by a doctor named Weir Mitchell. The cure, which was prescribed almost exclusively for women, had three core elements: isolation, rest, and feeding, with electrotherapy and massage added to counteract muscle atrophy. The patient was instructed to lie in bed for 24 hours each day, sometimes for months at a time, with a special nurse who would sleep on a cot in the room, feed her, and keep her mind from morbid thoughts by reading aloud or discussing soothing topics. Visits from family and friends were forbidden. The day was punctuated by electrotherapy and massage, sponge baths with a “rough rub” using wet sheets, and frequent feedings. The diet consisted of milk alone for the first week, or, if milk was not tolerated, 18 or more raw eggs per day. The patient would pass into a state of placid contentment, described by several contemporaneous textbooks: “Brain work having ceased, mental expenditure is reduced to a slight play of emotions and an easy drifting of thought” (2, p. 44). The fat would “roll up in the face, and subsequently over the body” (3, p. 140). When restlessness set in, exercise would be gradually introduced and the patient would eventually resume communication with her family and return to a healthy lifestyle. For Mitchell, at least, “healthy” for women included strict limits on “brain work,” which he felt imposed nervous strain and might interfere with “womanly duties.”