How Does The Yellow Wallpaper Respond To The Treatment Of Women In Frankenstein

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According to Webster's Dictionary, feminism is the “belief in and advocacy of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes expressed especially through organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests”. All three texts contain some aspect of feminism; Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman examines the lack of feminism and thus its effect on the lives of women while A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft details the fight for equal opportunities and rights for women, a radical idea at the time. Thus, The Yellow Wallpaper responds to the treatment of women in Frankenstein by cementing women's lack of freedom, independence, and individuality during the 1800s. …show more content…

The women in Frankenstein and The Yellow Wallpaper are sheltered. As Victor is recounting his childhood in the beginning chapters, he explains that his father “strove to shelter [Caroline]…from every rougher wind” (Frankenstein, 35). Alphonse, Victor’s father, shelters his wife which isolates her from the rest of the world; she is unable to interact with people other than her family and close friends - people who Alphonse approves of. Additionally, he prevents her from seeing the different personalities of women. Due to this, Caroline believes that the only role for women is a caretaker who obeys her husband because this idea is the only one she sees. To the same idea, the narrator, Jane, in The Yellow Wallpaper is physically sheltered as she is on bed rest per her husband's orders. Jane describes her room; the room has “...windows are barred for little children” (The Yellow Wallpaper”, 76). The bedroom Jane is trapped in resembles a prison cell. To further shelter Jane, her husband does not allow her to see other people; Jane hopes to see her cousin Henry and Julia but “...John says…he would soon put fireworks in my pillow-case as to let me have those stimulating people about now” (The Yellow Wallpaper, 78). …show more content…

This is one of the many consequences of the absence of equality as suggested by Mary Wollstonecraft in A Vindication of the Right of Women. Wollenstonecraft states that the knowledge women have is gained by “sheer observations on real life” (Wollstonecraft, chapter 2). Since Alphonse shelters Caroline, she does not gain any other knowledge different from what she already knows. She will always believe that a woman is to serve as a caretaker for her husband and children and she is to obey every wish and expectation put on her. Furthermore, Wollstonecraft cements the dire need to educate women through the relationship between Victor and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was presented to Victor as a “promised gift” which Victor views as a “possession of [his] own” (Frankenstein, 36). Essentially, Elizabeth is viewed as an object for Victor to play with. Wollstonecraft suggests that “there will be an end to blind obedience [when you] strengthen the female mind by enlarging it” (Wollstonecraft, chapter 2). Elizabeth blindly obeys Victor, and the entirety of the Frankenstein family, because she knows what is expected of her. Further, since Elizabeth is sheltered, she is unable to gain more diverse knowledge; she doesn't know that she can gain some independence and freedom if she stops blindly obeying Victor and conforming to the caretaker

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