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Comparison Of Daisy Miller And The Yellow Wallpaper

1590 words - 7 pages

Society continually places restrictive standards on the female gender not only fifty years ago, but in today’s society as well. While many women have overcome many unfair prejudices and oppressions in the last fifty or so years, late nineteenth and early twentieth century women were forced to deal with a less understanding culture. In its various formulations, patriarchy posits men's traits and/or intentions as the cause of women's oppression. This way of thinking diverts attention from theorizing the social relations that place women in a disadvantageous position in every sphere of life and channels it towards men as the cause of women's oppression (Gimenez). Different people had many ways of voicing their opinions concerning gender inequalities amound women, including expressing their voices and opinions through their literature. By writing stories such as Daisy Miller and The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Henry James let readers understand and develop their own ideas on such a serious topic that took a major toll in American History. In this essay, I am going to compare Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” to James’ “Daisy Miller” as portraits of American women in peril and also the men that had a great influence.
In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story, “The yellow Wallpaper”, the main character is used as a symbol to express the feeling of all the oppressed women in her time. Most of the women had no voice and were enslaved by “masculinist” ideas and a cult of domesticity (Gilman 685), which would explain why the main characters name was never mentioned in the story alluding to the fact that the women of her era simply lacked their own personal identity. Her husband and brother, who were both Physicians, treated her as a frail and incapable being that had no choice but to go by their orders. “You see, he does not believe I am sick! And what can one do?”(687). She recognizes this as nothing beyond normality and accepts it because that it what society deems her as; a being with no opinion or voice. The house they live in is extravagant. She goes on to explain that the garden is lush and delicious and that there was some legal trouble; something about the heirs and how this place has been empty for years. She goes on to say, “ I am afraid, but I don’t care—there is something strange about this house—I can feel it”(687). John continually tells her that her illness is psychological, and encourages her to try and get more fresh air, for her own efforts will be the best for a quicker recovery. However, on the one occasion she asks him for permission to visit her Cousin Henry and Julia, he denies her so, leaving her in tears and telling her she could not handle such a trip due to her illness.
Eventually, the woman begins to turn all of her attention to the ugly yellow wallpaper surrounding the room that she has been confined in for weeks. Since she has been locked up due to her husband’s demands, she begins to notice someone in the...

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