Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper presents a number of forms of control that the narrator is confronted with throughout the story. The forms of control presented in this story serve to demonstrate the oppressive weight of the patriarchy experienced by women at the time The Yellow Wallpaper was written. Gilman displays patriarchal control in both physical and psychological forms. She also presents a narrator who has internalized these oppressive expectations and her descent into madness which allows her a glimpse at freedom. Gilman uses the character of John to impose multiple forms of control on the narrator to demonstrate the effects of the patriarchal control that women faced when The Yellow Wallpaper was written. The system …show more content…
The narrator is brought to a “colonial mansion” (Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper” 831) to help her get better and while that sounds lovely it is more insidious than it appears. The house that John brings her to isolates her physically from everyone other than John and Jennie. In the yard surrounding the property “there are hedges and walls and gates that lock” (Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” 831). This demonstrates that not only has she been removed from most everyone she knows she is also not able to freely leave the property. The control that John has over her surroundings can also be seen in the room that she is forced to stay in. The narrator writes that she does not like her room and that she “wanted on downstairs that opened on the piazza... but John would not hear of it (Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” 832). John refuses to let the narrator have a ground floor room which would provide her with a certain level of freedom. Additionally, being allowed to make that choice and having a room away from him may have loosened John’s control over the narrator, which cannot be allowed. Instead, John places himself and the narrator in an upstairs room that was “a nursery first and then a playroom and gymnasium” (Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” 832), that is, a room that has been designed for children. The nursery has “windows [that] are barred” (Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” 832) and there is …show more content…
As her doctor John has the ability to make his own assessments of what he believes will help her, and as her husband, he has the power to fully enforce these recommendations within the home. The narrator has been given “a schedule prescription for each hour in the day; he takes all care from me” (Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” 832). She is not allowed to make decisions for herself regarding when she wants to do certain activities as every decision has been made for her and every minute of her day has been accounted for. Additionally, the narrator notes that John is very careful and loving, and hardly lets [her] stir without special direction” (Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” 832). While the narrator portrays this positively it is likely that she is trying to convince herself that John’s control is not simply a way for him to exercise his authority over her and that he truly wants to care for her. However, the fact that she is not allowed to do anything that is not in her list of prescribed activities or something that John has specifically instucted her to do shows the complete control that John possesses over the narrator. John’s power mirrors the power of other men in this patriarchal
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There have been many times throughout history that women were displayed as being insignificant, or unable to think for themselves. While this is very different today, strong women standing up as large figures within society, it is still visible within many works of literature. Author Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935), was a very strong writer, activist, and lecturer that held the ability to show the struggles for women within this period dealing with issues such as postpartum depression. Gilman is the author of 1892 The Yellow Wallpaper, a short story that follows the journal entries of a married woman battling with postpartum depression.
Dating back to the early 1900’s, women being oppressed was still a common occurrence. Today, women oppression is still a big issue. In this story, the reader is not only shown the characteristics of women oppression, but also how certain illnesses like depression and nervous conditions affect oppression. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper, Gilman develops the theme of women oppression by using her husband as an example and presents this theme by using conflict with person vs. person and person vs. self, first-person point of view withholding information from her husband, and uses a progressing plot to show the oppression. Throughout The Yellow Wallpaper, there are two major types of conflict: person vs. person and person
In "The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the sexist culture that restricts women's choices and wants is addressed in which exposes the problems of female misery and lack of independence. The main character experiences discrimination and neglect, which lead to her physical and psychological disintegration, shattered self-identity illusions, and madness as a reaction to both internal and external "incarceration." Charlotte Gilman uses a variety of literary techniques, including symbolism, dramatic irony, vivid imagery, and simile, to highlight the clear themes of feminism, constrained options, violated human rights, and will in "The Yellow Wallpaper." The gloomy tale tries to for the most part portray the everyday life of a woman whose ambitions of self-expression, independence, and healthy relationships essentially are destroyed following the birth of her kid and subsequent depression, to start with.
Throughout her journal, the narrator reassures the reader of John's love for her and her trust in him, at one point musing that “Dear John! He loves me very dearly, and hates to have me sick” (7) and “It is so hard to talk with John about my case, because he is so wise and because he loves me so” (8). It is this implicit trust that she has in her husband that convinces her to continue the treatment he prescribes despite her misgivings about it. John also uses this trust as a tool to emotionally manipulate her into subservience during the night he finds her awake. During his conversation with the narrator John attempts to convince her that she is getting better, but after rebutting that she is only “Better in body perhaps-”
Gilman’s narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” is battling several interwoven conflicts throughout the text. If one of these internal or external struggles been resolved, the conclusion of the short story could have been different from the final mental deterioration at the end. Conflicts faced by the narrator within “The Yellow Wallpaper” include her declining mental health, her husband’s dismissal and neglect of her concerns about her mental state, and her inability to perform the gender roles assigned to woman living in the early 1900s. The severity of the narrator’s mental state is developed throughout the whole of the story.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a very important piece of early feminist works. With this writing, Gilman has helped create opportunities for more female writers. Not only is "The Yellow Wallpaper" an early piece of feminist work, but it is also a great horror novel. One of the main reasons as to why this writing is a great piece of horror literature is because "The Yellow Wallpaper" misleads you as a reader. "
In several instances, John, a male physician, makes the narrator act and do what he thinks is best, justifying actions due to the patriarchal arrangement between wife and husband at the time. John cares for his wife throughout their unequal marriage but treats her like a “case” and does not allow him to see her as a true person. Gilman in the Yellow Wallpaper utters, “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage” (Gilman 2). Followed by, “He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction. I have a schedule prescription for each hour in the day; he takes all care from me, so I feel basely ungrateful not to value it more”(Gilman 3).
Ghracelle King ENGL 110 Februrary 12 2023 Paper 1 The “Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short fiction first-person novel that describes a woman with mental health issues and emphasizes the social expectations that were in place for women at the time more specifically, in the 18th century when women had almost no control. Gilman illustrated how the narrator manages to get over her husband and the physician's restrictions in order to write and gain freedom. The woman's mental condition deteriorates in "The Yellow Wallpaper" as she receives a "rest cure" in a rented home from her husband who is also a physician. Throughout the novel, her obsession with the yellow wallpaper in her bedroom is a symbol of how she descends into
Charlotte Gilman’s short narrative “The Yellow Wallpaper” communicates a message to women to combat male dominance. She walks readers through the experience of a woman being controlled by her husband and has them see everything through her lens, portrayed by many journal entries. It shows the progression of her mental and physical state as she undergoes his control and spends the majority of the story in the same place because of him. Through the actions of the characters and symbolism, Charlotte Gilman argues against men’s control over women and their need to resist it, which displays how women's lives can be negatively affected when abiding by their authority and doing nothing to withstand it.
The yellow wallpaper in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story plays a significant role in illuminating the narrator’s psychological unraveling. On a literal level, the wallpaper serves as a symbol of the narrator’s confinement within her oppressive domestic life. From the beginning, the narrator is presented as a woman who is struggling to find her place in the world. She is in a state of emotional limbo and her husband’s treatment of her only serves to further her sense of entrapment and powerlessness.
In The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman, Gilman uses symbols to portray the situation of John and his wife, who's the narrator, after the arrival at their rental home. The theme represents the complexity of relationships coupled with inequitable decisions. Gilman discusses how the wallpaper led the wife to insanity, how her illness affected her mental and physical health, and how John tried to “help” his wife overcome her illness. To begin, Gilman discusses throughout the story how the wife became more and more interested in the wallpaper.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” tells the tale of a distraught woman who, when searching for the support of her husband, is met with a patronizing attitude. Throughout the story, more is learned about the metaphor behind the yellow wallpaper and the narrator's internal battle to reach freedom. From a feminist perspective, Gilman’s story details the woman’s struggles and hints at the inequality between men and women as being the underlying cause. John, the narrator's husband, is introduced as a critical man who openly expresses how foolish he finds his wife’s illness to be. As a physician, he downplays the severity of her situation, by describing her ailment as merely “temporary nervous depression” and it is revealed
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's renowned short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a haunting and powerful portrayal of the injustice and oppression faced by women in the 19th century. Through her masterful use of ambiguity and horror, Gilman creates a chilling tale that reflects the societal constraints placed upon women and the detrimental effects of gender inequality. One of the ways Gilman employs ambiguity in "The Yellow Wallpaper" is through the narrator's mental state. The story is written in a first-person narrative, and the reader experiences the events through the perspective of the unnamed female protagonist.