In the nineteenth century, woman had no power over men in society. They were limited in their freedom, as their lives were controlled by their husbands. Some women did not mind this lifestyle, and remained obedient, while some rebelled and demanded their rights. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, are short stories that exposes the lifestyle women lived in the nineteenth century. The protagonists from both stories, Jane and Georgiana, similarly lived a male dominated lifestyle. Although both Georgiana and Jane lived the same era, in which their husbands dominated them, their behaviors, social reputation, and tolerance differed.
In The Yellow Wallpaper written in 1894, Gilman portrays the protagonist as a victim of oppression. Oppression is defined as being heavily burdened mentally or physically by troubles or adverse conditions. Oppression is also a form of authority over someone who is in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. During the 1800’s women were subject to strict laws of society which prevented them from many civil rights and opportunities. The narrator feels oppressed by her relationship with her husband, her house, and the wallpaper.
In the short story, The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman represents how wretchedness is overlooked and changed into blended sentiments that eventually result in a significantly more profound enduring incongruity. The Yellow Wallpaper utilizes striking mental and psychoanalytical symbolism and an effective women's activist message to present a topic of women' have to escape from detainment by their male centric culture.
Examine how either text represents either class or gender. Are these representations problematic or contradictory? How do they relate to the plot and structure of the novel?
Charlotte Gilman’s short story, ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, (1899) is a text that describes how suppression of women and their confinement in domestic sphere leads to descend into insanity for escape. The story is written as diary entries of the protagonist, who is living with her husband in an old mansion for the summer.
Throughout the generation, women have always been trapped in some way or another. In the short story, ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper’ and the novel ‘The Awakening’ highlights the struggle of women in the late 1800’s and the early 1900s in society. The Yellow wallpaper is a short story about women giving birth and being imprisoned in a room with a weird view of the yellow wall-paper. This resulted in her hallucination lead to the development of mental illness. By the end of the story, she rips off the yellow wallpaper and kills her husband. Similar to this is the story of Edna in the novel ‘The Awakening’ by Kate Chopin. This story highlights the life of a woman who is trying to gain independence in a trapped society where it is impossible for women in that type of culture to be free. Society plays a major role in her story as the society oppresses her in such a way that results in a tragic ending.
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
In the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, author Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses many literary techniques to allow the reader to understand the universal truth that a woman’s class is seen as lower than that of a man’s, due to their sex. We see this truth throughout the literary work, when the main character who is a woman, is put in confinement and later becomesdistraught and mentally unstablebecause her husband and brother who are both Physicians diagnoses her as “nervously depressed”. Two techniques author Gilman uses is tone and diction to illustrate how the narrator, among most women in that time period is treated as below men in class, with little say in their own mental or physical issues.
The protagonist of The Yellow Wallpaper anthropomorphizes the floral elements of the yellow wallpaper, wherein wallpaper is typically a feminine floral decoration on wall interiors. These elements signify the scrutiny Victorian society makes of lives of its womenfolk, particularly of women who are creative and insubordinate to their spouses. The protagonist is one such woman; her writing denounces her imaginative character and the surreptitious persistence of her writing denounces her matrimonial and feminine disobedience which were considered radical in her contemporary society. Gilman expresses the suppression felt by women from societal scrutiny to be one of “strangling”, through the narrator, who in one instance describes the wallpaper pattern like so: “it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads… the pattern strangles them off and turns them upside down, and makes their eyes white!” Her anthropomorphizing of the pattern of the wallpaper adopts a grimmer facet when she writes that “when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide.” It is also significant to note that the narrator describes the pattern as suicidal because it again emphasizes the narrator’s desperate, almost suicidal, need to flee the imprisonment of the nursery and from the oppressive, male-dominant society that the room and its wallpaper represent. Asides of the pattern, there are many probable connotations of the yellow colour of the wallpaper, for instance with jaundiced illness, and also the rigid oppression of masculine sun. While sickness can be associated with the colour yellow, its more established motif would seem be the conflict between the masculine sun and the feminine moon. In Gilman’s story, sunlight is linked with John’s
As we look at marriages in today’s day and age, it is difficult for a man to be more dominant over his wife. Women are allowed to work in any profession they choose, and do not need to rely on a man for money. However, centuries ago in the progressive era, men were superior and dominant over their wife. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s novel “The Yellow Wallpaper” portrays this type of image where a woman is controlled and trapped in her marriage by her husband John. In this era, they considered articles exposing issues like this as muckraking. Muckrakers Ray Baker, Ida Tarbell, and Lincoln Steffen exposed political corruption. In that case, Gilman is considered to be a progressive muckraker because in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, she portrays gender
Oppression is defined as prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control. Cruel and unjust punishment is just the beginning for the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Charlotte Gilman while writing the “The Yellow Wallpaper” deciding to make it into a series of diary entries from a woman who is suffering from post-partum depression. The narrator begins by describing this large home that she and her husband have rented for the summer. Their summer house stands away from the road and contains many locks and little houses. The house is in a super-isolated place. The house represents the narrator 's personal emotions; restricted and isolation. In the story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the symbolism of the the wallpaper and the diary demonstrate the psychological difficulties, that were caused by being disrespected and thought less of, during the 19th century for women across the United States.
Feminism was the talk of the 1890’s, that is why the fact that Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s feminist failure came as quite the surprise. Author of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman, wrote her story with the face value of why the “Get Rest Cure” is bad. However, if reading between the lines it is very clearly a feminist text. But while the narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper” tries to be a feminist through her own writing, dialogue with other characters, and actions, both the narrator and the peace are ultimately feminist failures.
In the 19th century, the misogynist standards left women in a state where their potential was suppressed. Charlotte Gilman argued against a society where a woman’s mentality and physical health was not fully cared for because of men. She herself had been a victim of these standards causing depression and her journey to not rely on another man shaped her feminist attitude. In 1892, she wrote a piece entitled The Yellow Wallpaper where she unravels the destruction anti-feminist attitudes can cause. By the use of setting Gilman formed her meaning that women deserve not only the same rights but compromise/
Feminism is the underpinning of men and women’s equality rights to opportunities; politically, economically and socially in the society. Gilman’s selection of the title, “The Yellow Wallpaper” tries to outline the disparities in achieving feminism’s anticipated order (Cutter 159). The study story is about an anonymous female character that has undergone various treatments that are contrary to Feminism, and how she finally gets out of the traps of men chauvinism. The narrator and her physician husband, John, demonstrate the feminism traits in width and depth. The narrator follows, almost, all of her husband’s instruction and at the end her situation worsens and she becomes insane (Cutter 175). Gilman uses the story to disapprove of the manifestation of men’s chauvinistic principles and dogma during the 19th Century especially in
From the outset, literature and all forms of art have been used to express their author’s feelings, opinions, ideas, and believes. Accordingly, many authors have resorted to their writing to express their feminist ideas, but first we must define what feminism is. According to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, feminism is “the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state”. As early as the fifteenth century is possible to find feminist writings. Centuries later, and although she never referred to herself as one, the famous English writer Virginia Woolf became one of the greatest feminist writers of the twentieth