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The Movement For Women's Rights Inside The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1633 words - 7 pages

The Movement for Women's Rights Inside "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Women have been mistreated, enchained and dominated by men for most part of the human history. Until the second half of the twentieth century, there was great inequality between the social and economic conditions of men and women (Pearson Education). The battle for women's emancipation, however, had started in 1848 by the first women's rights convention, which was led by some remarkable and brave women (Pearson Education). One of the most notable feminists of that period was the writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman. She was also one of the most influential feminists who felt strongly about and spoke frequently on the nineteenth-century lives for women. Her short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper" characterizes the condition of women of the nineteenth century through the main character’s life and actions in the text. It is considered to be one of the most influential pieces because of its realism and prime examples of treatment of women in that time. This essay analyzes issues the protagonist goes through while she is trying to break the element of barter from her marriage and love with her husband. This relationship status was very common between nineteenth-century women and their husbands.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper” Gilman presents the behavior of society of the time. The protagonist is suppressed by her husband, John, and her brother, though they both mean well. The way she is treated by her husband and her brother is not outwardly “mean” because they never deal with her in anger, but the way that they suppress her by not letting her express her feelings or do what she wants, is still abuse. Even though, the way that they are treating her is wrong, it does not seem wrong because they both act gentle and kind towards her and make her think that they really do care about her. Throughout the story, the protagonist states her intentions to herself, but then does not act upon them because of her husband. This is further shown when she speaks of her husband and her brother, who "is also of higher standing," (Gilman 317) showing the high ranking of men in society. They keep her from doing the things she wants because they believe it is best for her to rest. She disagrees. "Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good" (Gilman 317). On page 322, she tries to convince her husband that the treatment is not working, but he does not listen and just tells her to go to sleep. This just shows how she is not considered to know what is best, even for her own mental health. She does not even realize that this is happening. She just says things like "And what can one do?" (Gilman 317) or "But what does one do?” (Gilman 317). I believe the entire purpose for her mental health problems lies in the fact that she is trying to hold back the feeling that she cannot express herself or give an opinion about her own problems. In American...

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