Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Quotations: Yellow Wallpaper

Moira: Madam, are you all right?
Vivien: It's my own fault. I... I read labels on everything. And then I didn't, when it really counted, I just followed directions blindly. My doctor gave me a prescription last week for a drug for nausea, and I just checked it on the internet, and it says that it can cause fevers, and seizures, and, um, vision changes. It's the only explanation.
Moira: For what, madam?
Vivien: For all the crazy stuff that's been happening. My doctor never even told me about the side effects.
Moira: Doctors are charlatans.
Vivian: My mind is playing tricks on me, Moira. I'm seeing things.
Moira: There, there, madam. You just need a good cry. Sometimes it's the best possible thing.
Vivien: And everybody thinks I'm crazy. I know Ben does, I know it. And I've been too embarrassed to call Luke.
Moira: That's what men do. They make you think you're crazy, so they can have their fun. Haven't you read "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman?
Vivien: No.
Moira: Her husband, a doctor, locks her away in the upstairs bedroom to recuperate from a slight hysterical tendency. Staring at the yellow wallpaper day after day, she begins to hallucinate that there are women trapped in the pattern. Half-mad, she scrapes off the wallpaper to set the women free. When her husband finally unlocks the door, he find her circling the room, touching the wallpaper, whispering, "I've finally got out of here. (Pause) Since the beginning of time, men find excuses to lock women away. They make up diseases, like hysteria. (picks bowls out of the sink) Do you know where that word comes from?
Vivien: (whispers) No.
Moira: The Greek word for uterus. In the second century, they thought it was caused by sexual deprivation. (puts bowls on counter) And the only possible cure was hysterical paroxysm; orgasms. Doctors would masturbate them in their office, and call it medicine.
Vivien: I had no idea.
Moira: It was a hundred years ago, but we're no better off today. Men are still inventing ways to drive women over the edge. Look at you and Mr. Harmon. Cheating on you, leaving you here, pregnant with twins, alone to care for your truant teenage daughter. Any woman would lose her mind. May I speak freely, Mrs. Harmon?
Viven: Yes.
Moira: You are not crazy. And the strange things you are experiencing, I am afraid it's not the drugs. I've never said this to any of my employers, for fear of losing their trust or my job, but this house is possessed. Things break, disappear. Doors open for no reason. There are spirits here. Malevolent spirits. Mrs. Harmon, please hear me. You need to get out while you still can. I fear for you, if you don't.

--From American Horror Story, episode 1-8, "Rubber Man."

Later Days.

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