The Cult Of True Womanhood Analysis

2199 Words9 Pages
The Cult of True Womanhood in “The Yellow Wallpaper” In her essay “The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860”, Barbara Welter discusses the expected roles and characteristics that women were supposed to exhibit in accordance with the extreme patriarchy of the nineteenth-century America. The unnamed narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” is seen to conform and ultimately suffer from this patriarchal construct that Welter labels the Cult of True Womanhood. The narrator falls victim to this life of captivity by exhibiting several of the fundamental characteristics that Welter claims define what a woman was told she ought to be. She has been brainwashed by the patriarchal society of her time to worship the man, her husband, and perform her duties and daily rituals as a means to please him. Welter outlines several characteristics that constitute the perfect or true woman; however, the most crucial and detrimental so-called “virtues” exhibited by Gilman`s the narrator are her submissiveness and domesticity. Although the artistic narrator clearly has her own desires to be free and write as she pleases, her desire to satisfy the patriarchal construct of the household by attending…show more content…
Welter states, “The best refuge for such a delicate creature was the warmth and safety of her home. The true woman’s place was unquestionably her own fireside—as daughter, sister, but most of all as wife and mother, Therefore domesticity was among the virtues most prized by women’s magazines” (Welter 5). Since the woman was confined to the house, without any other options for work or hobbies, the home was more of a prison than a place of comfort. Welter states that the “woman, in the cult of True Womanhood…was the hostage in the home” (Welter 1). The narrator in the short story is seen to suffer from this sort of
Open Document