The Yellow Wallpaper Gender

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In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman uses the “psychological horror tale” to criticize the role of women within society in the late 1800’s. For Gilman, the conventional nineteenth-century middle-class marriage, with its stringent distinction between the “domestic” roles of the women in society and the “active” work of the male, ensured that women remained inferior citizens. In the story, John’s assumption of his own superior wisdom and maturity leads him to misjudge, patronize, and dominate his wife, all in the name of “helping” her. The narrator is reduced to acting like a cross, petulant child, unable to stand up for herself without seeming unreasonable or disloyal. The narrator has no say in even the smallest details of her life, and she retreats…show more content…
Its sole function in the home is to look nice. It does not go outside of the home, it does not work to achieve a goal. This represents the expectation of women during the time period to stay within the home and not attempt to enter the workforce. The wallpaper in the story also holds a woman inside of it, just as the domestic sphere encompasses married women. The domestic sphere is separate from the working sphere that men participate in, and men do not look at the domestic sphere’s influence on society, just as John does not look at the wallpaper as an issue or a sore spot in the…show more content…
Because the story was written in the late 1800’s, we can draw the conclusion that the gender roles were similar to that of the author’s time period. Similar to that of historical gender views, women in the story are expected to find fulfillment in the home, while the men hold positions as high-ranking as physicians. The narrator’s lack of a name also reinforces the notion that she is speaking as the voice of women collectively, rather than as an individual. There are many themes present in "The Yellow Wallpaper" depending on one 's own interpretation of the work. However, perhaps the most prevalent themes in the story is a woman 's personal fight for freedom within the confines of a Victorian mentality. In this time period, women were not granted the right to intellectual pursuits. The wallpaper is a metaphor for society 's limitations on women. She must break through and tear down this preconceived notion of women to become free. It is only through an escape from the wallpaper, society 's expectations, that she can become the woman she wants
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