• Diagnosis of Mental Illness in the Narrator of Charlotte Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" Using the DSM-5

      Fang, Wayne; Sadenwasser, Tim; Biological Sciences; English and Foreign Languages; Sadenwasser, Tim; Augusta University (12/10/2019)
      Charlotte Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" explores mental illness, freedom, and the faults of the rest cure by exploring the life of a wife who has been diagnosed with neurasthenia. With this story Gilman describes an increasingly common practice during her time, and how problematic it was for the individuals who were diagnosed. Through the wife's narration, Gilman shows how many women felt trapped since they were forced to undertake the rest cure due to one-sided relationship dynamics. Using this narrative of the wife's deteriorating mental health, Gilman argues for equality in relationships as well as better treatments for mental health. In this presentation, I will use the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as well as other scholarly sources to diagnosis the wife's mental illness. To do this, I will take the wife's narration and compare it to diagnostic criteria as presented in the DSM-5. By examining the narrator's thoughts and actions I will be able to examine the progression of her mental illness. Examining the wife's mental health can show how many women of her may have felt trapped. This in turn can explain how many women faced unequal power dynamics in their marriages.
    • Portrayal of Mental Illness in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart"

      Shaikh, Arika; Sadenwasser, Tim; College of Science and Mathematics; Pamplin College; Sadenwasser, Tim; Augusta University (1/4/2020)
      Edgar Allan Poe's "The-Tell Tale Heart" delves into the human psyche as it entails the story of an unnamed narrator who tells the tale of the murder he commits. Undergoing an emotional rollercoaster of pleasure and guilt, Poe's protagonist maintains his claim to sanity and a sense of reality. Poe articulates many tone and rhythm changes to create a sense of tension representing the narrator's mental condition. Throughout the narrative, the narrator struggles to reassure that there is nothing wrong with him and that he is completely normal. Exploring the themes of madness, guilt, and a false sense of reality, Poe's narrator suffers from a sense of false narrative, a trait characteristic of schizophrenia. In addition, the narrator demonstrates episodes of delusions, auditory hallucinations, diminished emotional responses, and significant disturbances to his normal routine which all allude to schizophrenia. I will utilize the DSM-5 criteria, literary criticisms, and other publications to show the audience the schizophrenic nature of Poe's narrator. I plan on discussing the DSM-5 criteria for schizophrenia and demonstrating how the narrator meets those criteria in several circumstances. Utilizing vivid imagery and a scattered style, Poe explores the mental depths of a man suffering from schizophrenia.