"Mental illness in the story serves several functions: the first being a more historical insight into the way people with mental illness were treated in the time. The second is the way women with...

"Mental illness in the story serves several functions: the first being a more historical insight into the way people with mental illness were treated in the time. The second is the way women with mental illness were specifically treated, especially in the upper class." Can you explain the two functions?

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Gilman mentions a noted real neurologist (who we might call a psychiatrist) of the time, Weir Mitchell, in her short story. In general, she wanted to critique his notion of a rest cure, an accepted practice of the period, which kept patients inactive and unable to occupy themselves on the principle that activity overtaxed their minds. (This approach was also used on Virginia Woolf, who also hated it.) This, Gilman illustrates in the story, is the wrong approach, as it drives a person deeper into mental illness rather...

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