The Role Of Dominance In Charlotte Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

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Throughout history men have often played a dominant role in society. This is especially true during the 19th century when 'The Yellow Wallpaper' was written. During this time period women were expected to fulfil their role as both mother and wife, nothing less and certainly never anything more, and be content in their societal role. Author Charlotte Gilman, draws on her own personal experience with patriarchal dominance to portray the suffering of women throughout history. Gilman's use of windows, doors and thresholds throughout 'The Yellow Wallpaper' symbolize the patriarchy dominance that is felt by the female protagonist, and also her will to overcome these barriers. Throughout her short story Gilman uses these symbols of dominance and…show more content…
While at first she was submissive and compliant, she is now rebelling in every way possible. The narrator is no longer afraid of John, allowing the fantasies which he warned her of, to overtake her. During their last night in the house Jane decides that she will finally get the woman out from the wall-paper. Jane locks herself in the room and vows to finish the job she started. “But I must get to work. I have locked the door and thrown the key down into the front path” (69). Symbolically the narrator has thrown away the 'key' that allows for patriarchal dominance. Essentially, she is locking her husband out from her new found world, just as she was previously locked in his. A door that once kept her shut-off from the outside world, not shuts out society’s view of women and their place in the world. “Iv got out at spite of you!” (70). The narrator of 'The Yellow Wallpaper' has been driven into psychological madness through the imprisonment of male dominance. Gilman's use of symbolism to portray patriarchal dominance, through locked doors and bared windows, has been an effective way to communicate the suffering and trapped feeling of women during the 19th century. While many women would be to afraid to question their role in society and in marriage, Gilman has created a strong female protagonist who overcomes her husbands authoritative

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