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A Woman's Domain Or A Prison? Revolt Of A Mother And The Yellow Wallpaper

970 words - 4 pages

The home is not just a physical structure, but also the people and relationships that lie within it. In the 19th century the home was a woman's sanctuary in which she was free to be herself and feel safe within its walls. Simply put, it was a woman's domain. Sometimes however, a home can act as a physical, emotional, and psychological constraint which can frustrate a person to the brink insanity. The physical walls of a house can be forms of imprisonment when mixed with the domination of a person or an illness. From this feeling of being suppressed or being held captive, desperation sets in and drastic measures are taken. For some the walls can also be reminders of the past, some of these can be good; however they may reveal a past of broken promises and disappointments. The texts "The revolt of a mother" and "The yellow wallpaper" truly show how the peaceful nature of a home can manifest into a state of physical imprisonment and disappointment, a place of female domination, as well as a breeding ground for female revolution.The physical walls of a home can be a place of sanctuary, or confinement. In both texts the walls are what drive both women to insanity, however in very different ways. In "The revolt of a mother" the walls of the original house were painful reminders of forty years of broken promises. It is shown in her confrontation with her Adoniram, that he continually places the needs of the farm animals, over the needs of his own family "You're lodgin' your dumb beasts better then you are your own flesh an' blood." (Freeman 727).Adoniram dismisses this idea as nonsense and continues to build the barn, however this in turn continues to fester within Sarah's mind and she events revolts against his suppression and takes things into her own hands. Similarly in "The Yellow Wallpaper" John uses his masculine fatherly role to try and convince the narrator that it is for her own good to stay in the wallpapered room. By forcing her into staying in the room her mind creates warped images of the ghastly paper and it begins to take over her mind every minute of the day. She translates her depressive thoughts onto the wallpaper "... you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance until they suddenly commit suicide- plunge off at outrages angles, destroy themselves in unheard contradiction." (Gilman 580). Eventually she does translate the suicidal thoughts through her own persona. "I am getting angry enough to do something desperate To jump out of the window would be an admirable exercise." (Gilman 589). Through these distorted thoughts she creates an alter-ego which eventually leads to her complete madness.In both "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "The Revolt of a mother" the male roles use their power to emotionally and...

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