Sociological Critisism of the Yellow Wallpaper

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Carol Becker Sociological Criticism 2/11/13 Transformation of a Woman The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is all about the oppression of women, how to overcome it, and become an individual with a voice. This story takes us on the journey of a young, child-like woman diagnosed with a "temporary nervous depression" who is "absolutely forbidden to work." Of course when speaking of "work", it is not the typical idea we think of today. Women during that time were to be domestic types, take care of the husband and house. Be seen, but not heard. As the story progresses, it shows this transformation of this child-like creature to a free thinking woman. At the beginning, Gilman shows how little the opinion of the female narrator means when she writes "there is something queer" about the house her and her husband, John, have rented for the summer. Her husband's response to her feelings is to laugh at her as "one marriage." With this statement, it shows that John is representative of society as a whole during this time. She is not able to speak up for herself at this point. Neither her husband nor her brother, both of which are physicians, do not "believe" her to be sick. Her lack of confidence is first obvious when she writes "And what can one do?" in response to what they say. Then it comes through again when she says how she disagrees with their ideas and believes "congenial work... would do me good," yet she has the same attitude of "what is one to do?" In a little way, she is starting to find her voice by doing something that is pretty much unheard of at this time, she defies what John and her brother say and writes "in spite of them." She states how "it DOES exhaust me a good deal" but, this is due to her having to be sneaky. The writing itself sets her free and opens her mind. It's all the sneaking she has to do in order to have her own

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