Nicole Poirier English 102-004 Dr. Bruce Magee February 7, 2014 The Yellow Wallpaper: Oppression of Women in the Nineteenth Century The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is an American short story written at the end of the nineteenth century. This is a story of a woman who has been shut off from the rest of the world as a cure to her neurasthenia, a disease relatable to what is known as depression today. The Yellow Wallpaper was written as an attack on the ineffective cruel treatment of the “rest cure”, which the author had to suffer through herself. The parallels between Gillman’s experience and the narrator’s, as women of the nineteenth century, are evident in this story. Women’s reality, such as Gilman’s, in this time period was being a submissive wife with few rights in society.
Examine how Charlotte Perkins Gilman challenges attitudes towards the role of women in society through her use of form, structure and language in the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” Charlotte Perkins Gilman challenges attitudes towards the role of women in society through her use of form, structure and language in numerous ways. The story is a fictionalized autobiographical account that illustrates the emotional and intellectual deterioration of the female narrator who is a wife as well as a mother. The woman, who seemingly is suffering from post-partum depression, searches for some sort of peace in her male dominated world. She is given a “cure” from her husband (a doctor) that requires strict bed rest and an enforced lack of any form of metal stimulation. As a result of her husbands control, the woman develops and obsessive attachment to the wallpaper which masks the walls of her bedroom.
It was evident that she was in the stage of denial. She kept brushing off the fact that his brother is dead. She could not seem to accept that she could not do anything for him to come back. She does not want to recall something terrible and unacceptable that has happened in her life or to his brother perhaps, that even when Porter was telling her about it, she still denies it and does not want to remember it. Most of the time, people repress things because they don’t want to get hurt.
He later says how "I was not enthusiastic about his visit.... A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to” (100). Upon the arrival of his wife’s friend, the husband is ultimately uncomfortable around Robert because he does not know how to communicate with or act around him. His discomfort is revealed when Robert and his wife were sharing their experiences “about the major things that had come to pass for them in the past ten years” (100). He felt it was necessary to join in because he thought Robert would “think [he] left the room and didn’t want [his wife] to think [he] was feeling left out” (103). It is obvious the husband is overly involved with Robert’s handicap and fails to see him as a person with his
Kamara Bellis Buckner English 1301 25 JUN 09 The Victorian Woman’s Insane Treatment in Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” During the Victorian era, woman were to be dependant and obedient of their husbands. They were not allowed to pursue careers or interests. Gilman, being a woman of this time experienced this oppression first hand. She had been diagnosed with a nervous condition and was ordered to bed rest after the birth of her child. This ill-fated treatment prescribed by her physician Weir Mitchell, whom she referenced in her story, drove her to the brink of insanity.
She is aware of the fact that many people are uncomfortable with the word “cripple”, but “wants them to wince”. Only she knows all the ways having MS has affected her and believes that “cripple” is the best word to describe her because it is “straightforward and precise”. She believes other words such as “disabled” and “handicapped” “move away from [her] condition”. Though she is not exactly lucky to have the condition she has she wants to be seen as someone “who can face the brutal truth of her existence squarely”. She has lost full use of her limbs and “refuses to…deny that [she has] lost anything” while having her disease.
Edna’s husband, Leonce, often noted “…her habitual neglect of the children” (Chopin 7). Chopin uses the words “habitual neglect” to intensify how Leonce felt toward Edna’s attitudes for their children. Leonce was not pleased with Edna’s lack of care and motherly abilities. Through his diction, it is evident that he senses a change in Edna. Furthermore, Leonce “thought it very discouraging that his wife, who was the sole object of his existence, evinced so little interest in things which concerned him, and valued so little his conversation” (Chopin 6).
The repression of women and the suspicions of a patriarchal society lead to rebellion and hysteria. Suppression prevents female character developing. Miller portrays women as weak, it seems that he uses his own view of women and presents it in the crucible. Hale shows authority over Abigail: ‘You can not evade me Abigail’ here he expresses his control and power, Hale puts pressure onto Abigail to tell the truth; is she lies he knows that she will be believe over him because of his male dominance. The use of ‘evade’ tells Abigail that he cannot be overcome and therefore she cannot overcome god like she has taken control of the Girls.
Women a part of the high caste system are encouraged to take no part in labor activities and are especially restricted to partake in any work outside of the household for financial income. Instead, their sole responsibility is to tend to and care for the husband and children. Those women in the low caste are responsible for completing all house work and if times are tough (financially) they may be asked by their husbands to contribute financially by means of finding work outside of the home. As for those in the lowest caste, women are responsible for everything. Not only are they expected to bring in an income along with their husband, they have to assume all housework without the help of their husband.
Hanna Rosin’s article states that she thinks that women are not completely controlled by men in their job choices, but that women are making different choices based on their personal prefrences and economic situations. The counter argument is that men are dominating over women and taking all the jobs. Rosin gives an example from her own experience of how women themselves are in control of their own decisions in the workplace. she stated that shortly after giving birth, that she wanted to go back to work, but that she also wanted to stay home and raise a child. She didnt see staying home with her child as her “duty”, and she didn’t feel pressure from her husband or boss to do one or the other, but that It was her own subconscious, tricking her into beliving that it was more her duty to stay home with their baby than her husbands.