Women doctors were acutely rare during the nineteenth century, which led to the overwhelming number of male doctors.
These male professionals hardly knew anything about women and for that reason, women were constantly misdiagnosed and forced to do ludicrous acts to “heal” them.
The “Rest Cure” was devised by Silas Weir Mitchell in 1877.
This cure was to be used for the treatment of nervous disorders that were quite common in women during the 1800’s.
Others, while less broad, are just as hard to overcome: the way she is treated by her caretakers, the home and the bedroom in which she is forced to "rest," and even the restrictions placed on her in the name of healing.
As was common at the time this story was written, the narrator's husband, John, uses his role as the husband to assert control over his wife, as she is trapped by the confines of being a woman.
The “Rest Cure” was a way to subjugate and demoralize women.
It consisted of actions that made women helpless and reliant on the (male) doctor (a prevalent theme throughout history).
When John and his wife discuss her disease, she states, “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that.” It only conveys that notion of the male view towards women as inferior, submissive, and mindless.
John is a prominent physician who forces his wife to believe and listen to him.