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A Comparison of Steinbeck's The Chrysanthemums and Gillman's The Yellow Wallpaper

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Gender Inequality: A comparison of Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” and Gillman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”

Throughout history, Women have experienced a time when they did not have equal rights as men. It was defined as a time when women were stuck in a patriarchal society in which women were dependent on men, giving them complete control over everything. This was a major issue during the early 1900’s. It was during this time that numerous authors used this pressing issue to create renowned works of literature. Both Charlotte Perkins Gillman and John Steinbeck explore this issue in their works, “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “ The Chrysanthemums.”

The Yellow Wallpaper, written in 1892, describes a women trapped under the control of her husband. Her strict domestic roles leave the impression that women were treated as property and not as individuals. From the beginning when describing their summer house as, “Something queer about a house so large and beautiful, yet rented to them at such a reasonable price, she continued “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in a marriage (Gillman.)” it is perceived that her husband thinks of her as inferior and thinks of her a child when it comes to her opinions.
Suffering from anxiety and post partum depression, she consults with her husband who happens to be a doctor for help. Using his authority as a doctor, he constantly informs her that there is nothing wrong and rest and time will make her better, even though it isn’t true. For the wife, she needs a way to express her emotions and have an outlet for what she is feeling which writing has provided her in the past, but is now forbidden.

Throughout the story she is forced to hide her illness for the sake of keeping her happy...


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Gillman, Charlotte. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Literature : A Pocket Anthology. 5th ed.
Ed. R. S. Gwynn. Boston: Longman 2012. Print.

Kolodny, Annette. "A Map for Rereading: Or, Gender and the DDDInterpretation of Literary Texts." New Literary History 11.3 DDD(Spring 1980): 451-467. Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary DDDCriticism. Vol. 201. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resource DDDCenter. Web. 30 Apr. 2014.

Skredsvig, Kari Meyers. "Women's Space, Women's Place: Topoanalysis in Steinbeck's 'The Chrysanthemums.'." Revista de Filología y Lingüística de la Universidad de Costa Rica 26.1 (Jan.-June 2000): 59-67. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Jelena O. Krstovic. Vol. 135. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.

Steinbeck, John. “The Chrysanthemums”. 1938. isites.harvard.edu.Web. 28 Apr 2014



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