Gender Roles In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

818 Words4 Pages
Locked away in a single room throughout the entirety of the story, the protagonist of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” seems to be the epitome of the struggles that a numerous amount of women had to face in the late eighteen hundreds. Many readers consider this from a psychological standpoint where the protagonist is suffering from a mental illness of sorts. However, it is evident that the author was writing from a feminist standpoint. Gilman was writing about her own opinion on gender roles in her time or even about her own experiences in a male dominated society. These feminist ideas of Gilman are expressed through the actions and decisions that John made throughout the story, the whirling thoughts of the protagonist, and…show more content…
He considers his wife inferior and weak. Throughout the story he seems to wave away problems that his wife has with the home. For example, she wants to remove the yellow wallpaper from the room and John just laughs at her and tell her that if he does this, she’ll just ask for more. Refusing to give her what she wants and keeping her trapped within the yellow-walled prison of his making. John often attempts to make it where the protagonist cannot even think. He makes her stay on bedrest and is not allowed to write. However, she does not get better until she is free to express her own thoughts and not only from John, but Jenny as well. She writes for awhile “in spite” of multiple people; possibly in spite of society for not allowing women to think for themselves. Not only this, but John is so controlling that he removes any control that she could have in the house stating that all she needs to do is lay in bed and not to think about anything thus making her imprisoned and feel useless; the protagonist is thanking him for doing this. “He is very careful and loving” she says. The protagonist is pressured yet again by society to be thankful for her controlling husband. Finally, at the very end of the story. John finds what his wife has done with the wallpaper, symbolically freeing her from the prison she was trapped in, the gender roles seems to switch. He faints due to shock at the torn wallpaper…show more content…
The narrator is stuck in a single room throughout the entire plot. Stuck with the gaudy, garish, yellow wallpaper that not only traps her body, but her mind as well. Her environment is very prison-like, and she becomes just captivated with the wallpaper which seems to be the only thing she was allowed to think about. Viewing the setting as a trap that holds women to their domestic life is very plausible seeing that she hated it at first and then the moment she destroyed the wallpaper, the gender roles between the protagonist and John were switched. Her and the women were free from their domestic lives that society holds them to. To conclude, the Yellow Wallpaper is used to express Gilman’s feminist views in a male dominated society. She uses a psychological thriller to portray the physical and mental struggles that women faced in the late nineteenth century. She expresses these through the thoughts of the narrator, John’s actions, and the setting of the story. Gilman writes of imprisonment and how tough mentally it was to live a simple domestic life during this time
Open Document