This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper. A Commentary On The Male Oppression Of Women In A Patriarchal Society

1286 words - 5 pages

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper is a commentary on the male oppression of women in a patriarchal society. However, the story itself presents an interesting look at one woman's struggle to deal with both physical and mental confinement. This theme is particularly thought-provoking when read in today's context where individual freedom is one of our most cherished rights. This analysis will focus on two primary issues: 1) the many vivid images Gilman uses to illustrate the physical and symbolic confinement the narrator endures during her illness; and 2) the overall effect of, and her reaction to, this confinement.The Yellow Wallpaper begins with the narrator's description of the physically confining elements surrounding her. The story is cast in an isolated hereditary estate, set back from the road and located three miles from town. The property boasts protective hedges that surround the garden, walls that surround the estate, and locked gates which guarantee seclusion. Even the connecting garden represents confinement, with box-bordered paths and grape-covered arbors. This isolation motif continues within the mansion itself. Although she preferred the downstairs room with roses all over the windows that opened on the piazza, the narrator finds herself relegated to an out of the way dungeon-like nursery on the second floor, appropriately equipped with 'rings and things' in the walls. Windows in each direction provide glimpses of the garden, arbors, bushes, and trees. The bay is visible, as is a private wharf that adjoins the estate. These views reinforce isolationism; they can be seen from the room, but not touched or experienced. There is a gate at the head of the stairs, presumably to keep the children contained in their play area. Additionally, the bed is immovable as it has been nailed to the floor. It is here that the narrator secretly describes her slow decent into madness.Although the physical confinement drains the narrator's strength and will, the mental and emotional confinement symbolized in the story play an important role in her ultimate fall into dementia. By being forced to be her own company, she is confined within her mind. Likewise, part of the narrator's mental confinement stems from her recognition of her physical confinement. The depression the narrator has experienced associated with child bearing is mentally confining as well. Specifically, she cannot control her emotions or manage her guilt over her inability to care for her child. These structures of confinement contribute to the rapid degeneration of her faculties.As the wife of a prominent physician in the late nineteenth century, the narrator's assumption of the typical female role illustrates one aspect of the symbolic confinement present within both the story and the society. She is subservient and deferential to her husband John who enjoys the power traditionally associated with his sex and additional authority afforded him by his status as a doctor....

Find Another Essay On Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper. a commentary on the male oppression of women in a patriarchal society

Oppression of Women in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

1324 words - 5 pages Edna Pontellier of Kate Chopin’s work The Awakening as well as the nameless female narrator of Charlotte Perkin Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper both experienced similar forms of gendered oppression, who have become frustrated with their conventional womanly roles. In having like experiences, these literary works prove effective in relaying the issue of gender inequalities among men and women in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Although both Chopin

The Oppression of Women Exposed in The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1287 words - 5 pages Prior to the early twentieth century men dictated women’s role in society. Charlotte Gilman uses her novella “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892) as a symbolic reflection of oppression of women in a paternalistic society. Her novella challenges the idea of women being depicted as weak and fragile. The narrator’s name is unknown through out the story, yet at the beginning the reader is given her husbands’ name (John), and the narrator’s identity through

Seclusion and Oppression in Charlotte Perkins´The Yellow Wallpaper

1111 words - 5 pages ” on the floor. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the author of “The Yellow Wallpaper” was a fascinating lady who was ahead of her time. As this story is from nineteenth century, it reveals what many women at the time were going through. Women had not been given the right to vote, let alone make enough money to sustain themselves. Many of them felt trapped, as if behind the hideous yellow wallpaper. They were expected to have a domestic life, oppression

Escaping Male Authority in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

854 words - 4 pages For a long time, women were oppressed and controlled by men. Particularly in early 19th century, these thoughts and stereotypes bound women stronger than ever. "The Yellow Wallpaper", written by Charlotte Perkins, Gilman shows us how men and women were treated differently during early 19th century by alluding men and women figures into her two characters, the narrator and her husband. “Yellow Wallpaper” is about one man who controls the narrator

Essay on Condemnation of a Patriarchal Society in Yellow Wallpaper

899 words - 4 pages Condemnation of a Patriarchal Society in The Yellow Wallpaper        Charlotte Perkins Gilman was crafty. Taken at face value, her short work, The Yellow Wallpaper, is simply the diary of a woman going through a mental breakdown. The wallpaper itself is the arbitrary object on which a troubled mind is obsessively fixated. The fact that Gilman herself suffered from a nervous breakdown makes this interpretation seem quite viable. This

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis"

1482 words - 6 pages Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis" contain many similarities. They both have the common theme of the deterioration of the main character's life and mind, as well as the theme of the ostracism of outcasts in society. They also both deal with the main characters gaining a freedom through the demise of their previous lives. The woman in "The Yellow Wallpaper" is slowly deteriorating in mental state

Analysys of Charlotte Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper."

987 words - 4 pages Dear Mr. Scudder:I wholeheartedly disagree with you, Mr. Scudder, on your position of not publishing Charlotte Gilman's wonderful story, "The Yellow Wallpaper." "The Yellow Wallpaper," isn't a story which would "[make] others miserable." Rather, it's an inspiring story for young women to break free from the patriarchal shackles which confine them. This story's underlying feminist themes prove to be quite fascinating, and thus this story deserves

Analysis of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's A Yellow Wallpaper, and Eudora Welty's A Worn Path

2506 words - 10 pages When studying patterns and trends in society, some sociologists refer to the unequal distribution of property, power, and prestige around the world as social stratification. This stratification forms the basis of the divisions of society and categorizations of people. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path,” Gilman and Welty both explore the implications of a stratified society divided on gender and

Alienation into Insanity in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Yellow Wallpaper and William Faulkner's A Rose for Emily

837 words - 4 pages Alienation caused from the dominant patriarchal society in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," and William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily", forces both protagonists into insanity. The narrator placed in solitary confinement by her husband, Emily Grieson’s overprotective father and both women’s obsession result in their madness. "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman revolves around a woman’s struggle within a

The Setting for Insanity in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"

1092 words - 4 pages Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" illustrates that being excluded from the public and locked away in solitary confinement causes insanity. Gilman uses setting to convey this point throughout the story.The unnamed woman in this story is told that she is suffering from a nervous disorder. Her husband takes her to a colonial mansion far away from her normal environment. He believes that taking her to a different environment will

Comparing Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper; and Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour

1079 words - 4 pages Comparing Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and Kate Chopin's 'The Story of an Hour' 'The Yellow Wallpaper';, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and 'The Story of an Hour';, by Kate Chopin, are alike in that both of the women in the stories were controlled by their husbands which caused them to feel an intense desire for freedom. Both stories were also written from a feminist point of view. However, the women in the stories had

Similar Essays

Female Oppression In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

961 words - 4 pages Will women ever be equal to men? For centuries male oppression of woman has existed, presenting an interesting look at women struggle with physical and mental imprisonment. The environment and the people who are apart of ones life have an overpowering effect on the quality of other. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story, the protagonist is said to be struggling with nervous depression, and is married to a doctor who has suggested rest therapy in a

Oppression Of Women In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

788 words - 3 pages For a long time, women were oppressed and controlled by men. Particularly in early 19th century, these thoughts and stereotypes bound women stronger than ever. "The Yellow Wallpaper" written by Charlotte Perkins, shows readers how men and women were treated differently during early 19th century by her characterization of the narrator and her husband. The “Yellow Wallpaper” is about one man who controls his wife and forces her to hide herself and

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

1730 words - 7 pages fit almost perfectly for Gilman’s story, it does not complete the modern day criticism of, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Today, women have a bigger role in life as a whole. Women have high paid jobs, work on farms, have their husbands’ cook for the family, and lead other men. The women who have never known about the way women were once treated in the past may not view Gilman’s novella in a feminist way. If the readers swap the two main characters

Feminist Perspective On Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

1421 words - 6 pages as this story is based on fiction, Gilman was able to bring alive a personal triumph. She presented the behavior of society in that time. It definitely had some sort of impact, since it was stated that her real doctor, has changed some things about his practice after reading her short story. Charlotte Perkins Gilman has now become considered an essential writer for the feminist movement. Works Cited Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow