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1. I found Nellie Bly's accounts of Blackwell Island to be particularly intriguing, she tells of an institution that was almost completely custodial in its management or lack thereof. The physical torment inflicted upon patients at Blackwell was also particularly alarming, and from what I can remember Bly was not even in the most condemned and controlled part of the facility. (The women who could be seen out for walks on the leash sort of system were believed to have it the worst as they were deemed the most volatile and dangerous) - Joey Welch

2. In what ways did the emergence of “New Women” begin to change the expectations and management processes in institutions? - Joey Welch

1. In Nellie Bly's experience at Blackswell Island, she notes multiple times that it was astounding that the doctors were not able to tell the difference between a “sane” and “insane” person. Is this reflective of the medical training at the time? What does that say about whether people (women specifically) getting the care that they actually needed.-Margie Jones

2. The conversation around women and mental health experiences is an interesting one. Is there an argument to be made that the same patriarchal values uphold women's mental health treatment today?-Margie Jones

1. Considering the first hand accounts of women in the asylums, what would be some key reasons for all of the corruption within the asylums? What was the motive for keeping women in the asylum so long who were not ill? — Ruth Curran

2. Could well-meaning family and friends who committed their family/friends truly be blind to the abuses happening within the asylum so as to believe that their family was receiving the care as described to them? — Ruth Curran

1. In chapter 2, Bly talks about her plan on getting into the asylum. She mentions her original plan of going to a lodging house and stating that she was looking for a job to either the landlady or landlord, but decided it would be much faster to convince a boarding house of working women of her insanity. Why would it be easier for her to convince working women of her insanity? Why would she believe these women “would never rest until [she] was out of their reach and in secure quarters?” -Teresa

2. All semester so far we have been reading academic accounts of asylums. Some have gone over the structure of the asylum while others have talked about the doctors and the superintendents. Some have mentioned the struggles patients faced, how they had very little, if any rights. However, Nellie Bly’s Ten Days in a Mad-House is the first source where we get an idea of what patients thought and experienced. One big thought I had while reading Bly’s account was that the women weren’t being listened to. Miss Tillie Mayard is a great example of this. Mayard begged and pleaded to be tested by the doctors to prove that she wasn’t insane, but they all refused and sent her to Blackwell’s Asylum anyway. Watching events like these take place, watching the blatant disregard for the patients pushed Bly to strive to better the environment and circumstances these women were put into. -Teresa

One of the first major discrepancies Bly brings up is the institutionalization of Louise Schanz, who did not speak or understand English. By this note, Schanz had no reasonable way to protest her conditions without an interpreter, which doesn’t seem to be something Blackwell’s island would do. Was this common? -RJD

Bly’s understanding becomes increasingly clear that public institutions were not up to par with consistent standards of care. For example, her request for a nightgown is answered with blame on the institution being “charity.” Was the aforementioned experience consistent among most public institutions? -RJD

1. How do Nellie Bly and the other women writing these accounts view others committed to the asylums? Do they feel that the treatment can be effective for some even if it isn't necessary/helpful for them? - Morgan

2. How is declaring a woman to be insane and having her committed to an asylum used by her spouse and/or family in order to further their control and abuse, such as in the case of Elizabeth Stone for example? - Morgan

1. From Women in the Asylum, The author states in the 1866-1890 section that “The New Woman was an educated, intellectual young woman who valued self-fulfillment and service to her community.” I think it is interesting how people during this time made it seem like women were just now starting to change when in reality women have always been able to do just as much as anyone else and more. -Jake Martin

2. In the section where it talks about adult foster care programs, I'm curious to know how people decided that these certain families were a good fit to take care of these certain individuals and how long this lasted until the public found out that the patients were getting mistreated in these homes. -Jake Martin

1. After spending time with psychiatric doctors trying to get diagnosed, Bly determines and states, “I felt sure now that no doctor could tell whether people were insane or not, so long as the case was not violent.” Her first-hand encounter confirmed the theories that most psychiatric diagnoses done in this time period were baseless. It makes me wonder how her experience changed the public’s perception on psychiatric study and treatment.-NG

2. With the rate of insanity being high among pregnant women and new mothers, did the prospect of psychiatric issues deter any women from starting a family?-NG

1. In Ten Days in a Madhouse Bly describes the testing they conducted to prove her insanity. As well as the women Mary who was cleaning. Does the appearance and acceptance of sane individuals in these hospital work to discredit these institutions? - Darian

2. In both of the texts it describes how women had difficulties defending their sanity and ultimately their freedom. Was this attitude driven by a sexist society or the lack of knowledge regarding mental health?-Darian

2023-471g4--week_6_day_2.txt · Last modified: 2023/10/05 11:04 by