Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Portrayal Of Victorian Women

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” critiques Victorian womanhood in several ways throughout the text. Victorian women were expected to be pure, dainty, and perfectly angelic. They were also expected to be perfect mothers, wives, and hostesses at all times. If a woman were to express too much emotion, she would be called hysterical. Hysteria was considered a medical condition which rendered a woman incapable of reason or generally thinking like an adult. However, because of societal standards at this time, women were already typically treated like children. In the “Yellow Wallpaper”, Charlotte Perkin Gilman criticizes infantilism of women in Victorian society through Jane’s childlike actions, John’s interactions with her, and the symbolism of her staying in the nursery. Throughout the story, Jane is compared to, or acts like a child. On page three of the text, Gilman writes that Jane used to be easily entertained by blank walls and furniture than most children could find in toy stores. The idea of Jane…show more content…
She wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” in an effort to open the public’s eyes to the unfairness of this treatment. By infusing Jane’s narrative with childish language and actions without ever actually calling “Jane” by her name, Gilman creates a universal experience any woman of the time could insert herself into. This allowed women to fully realize the injustice they faced. John’s belittlement of Jane also serves to create both a universal and eye opening experience for the women reading it. Additionally, for those who were willing to read into the symbolism, the nursery and the meaning underlying it added to the injustice Gilman conveys. Charlotte Perkins Gilman addresses the infantilism of Victorian womanhood via “The Yellow Wallpaper” through Jane’s childish actions, John’s patronizing personality, and the nursery’s
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