I wrote a unique I called ?The Rubber Room? Approximately two high faculty college students who meet on in-faculty suspension.
My editor disliked the title.“I’d like to suggest that we consider a different title. I have a viscerally negative reaction to the term ‘the rubber room.'” The marketing and sales team said it conjured sex rooms and the mistreatment of the mentally ill. We retitled it “Wilder.”
But sex rooms? I started out asking people what ?Rubber room? Supposed, and observed no consensus.
The Oxford English Dictionary yielded nothing. Of the six slang dictionaries I checked, only Green?S provided references:
Beckett, such a literary first citation and, it seems, a prescient one. But should 1938 surely be the earliest usage?
I dug in.
And now, I present a short own family tree of ?Rubber room,? With 4 branches, a disco, and three bogus etymologies.
?We have not had event once to use even our India-rubber rooms for any other purposes than as regular dormitories…?
The earliest reference I could locate, this record conveys its brutal assumptions about mental illness?And language?S position in those assumptions?In its first sentence: ?There are, in the county, possibly approximately 3 hundred and sixty insane paupers, i.E. Lunatics and idiots.? But the file additionally argues towards the use of restraints and coercion with this strikingly progressive adage: ?You may additionally do almost everything by way of soothing and kindness, you may not often do nearly something but mischief by force.? This, coincidentally, should serve as my narrator?S epitaph.
As with other sensationalized and…