Confined Women of the Nineteenth Century Essay

Confined Women of the Nineteenth Century Essay

Length: 2191 words (6.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, both authors provide evidence for readers to conceptualize the stories through the critical lens of feminism. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a story about the unnamed narrator who is taken to an ancestral home by her husband John to be treated for her nervous depression. Meanwhile, she develops a strong dislike for the yellow wallpaper in the bedroom that the narrator is restricted to. The narrator ultimately becomes hopelessly insane in hopes of relieving the women trapped by the wallpaper. Similarly, The House of Mirth tells the story of Lily Bart, a young woman who is trapped by societal standards. She struggles between the relationship of riches, love, and respect. Lily never achieves her goal of marking her status as a social elite because she overdoses and dies at the end of the novel. The narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Lily from The House of Mirth both struggle throughout their womanhood. Edith Wharton and Charlotte Gilman use different point of views to emphasize how eternal forces, such as entrapment, powerlessness, and subordinance of women ultimately lead to their overwhelming confinement in the nineteenth century society.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman immediately gives readers the most important elements at the beginning of the short fictional story. At the opening of the story, the narrator states how her husband John has brought their family to live in an ancestral home for the summer. The narrator considers the house to be strange, but John is quite too practical to see things the way that she does. He already fails to believe that the narrator is actually sick. The narrator begins to take readers on her ever-changin...

... middle of paper ...

...ness, and subordinance of the world. “The Yellow Wallpaper” and The House of Mirth essentially promote Gilman and Wharton’s demand for change, and illuminate a woman’s struggle to obtain equal possibilities in society through several different viewpoints in these notable works.

Works Cited
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Cassill, R.V. The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. 5th Edition. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1995. Print.
Restuccia, Frances L. "The Name Of The Lily: Edith Wharton's Feminism(S)." Contemporary Literature 28.2 (1987): 223. Literary Reference Center. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.
Sommerville-Thompson, Mina L. "'Re-Viewing' Charlotte Perkin Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper' Beyond Feminism." CCTE Studies 76.(2011): 33-41. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.
Wharton, Edith. The House of Mirth. New York: Signet Classic, 1980.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Awakening: An Emergence of Women's RIghts in the Late Nineteenth Century

- ... Clearly, The Awakening challenges the role of a woman in nineteenth century society. A woman’s purpose is centered on childbirth and child rearing. Women are expected to naturally receive pleasure from motherhood. According to Stone, birthing is a symbol for the rebirth of Edna as an artist. Stone argues that Edna shows progress throughout the novel and becomes more “self-defined,” rather than passive and regressive as argued by many scholars additionally. Birth also becomes a symbol for spiritual rebirth....   [tags: Kate Chopin's novel analysis]

Powerful Essays
1337 words (3.8 pages)

The Differences Between The And The Early Nineteenth Century Essay

- ... The new philosophy that had just begun, appears to have let women have a larger part in learning science “precisely because women had leisure,” and the sciences were viewed as a leisure activity (Shiebinger 167). Building off this, philosophers at this time also drew upon religion to try and find the differences between men and women. Within this new philosophy, it was believed that if men and women were both created in God’s image, then “should have to sex” and women and men were both capable of studying science and philosophy (Scheibinger 168)....   [tags: Gender, Male, Sex, Sexual differentiation]

Powerful Essays
1299 words (3.7 pages)

Descriptions of Oppressed Women in Charlotte Gillman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper

- In Charlotte Gillman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” the narrator describes several attitudes in which men thought about women and the overall oppression of women in the early 20th century. The perception of men and women encouraged society to place limitations on women and allow men to dominate. Women were seen as caretakers, homebodies and fragile, unable to care for one’s self. This is symbolic to the “Cult of Domesticity”, a term identifying a nineteenth-century ideology that women's nature suited them especially for tasks associated with the home....   [tags: confined, control, defiance]

Powerful Essays
881 words (2.5 pages)

Rock Music and Confined Sexual Repression in the 1960's Essay

- In the 1960s, rock music had an increasing impact in teen culture. According to teenage girl response to the confined sexual repression, rock music created many controversial consequences. Music became a commodity that served escapism from reality instead of creating options and choices and brought the teen cultures to go against the mainstream culture to bring forth identities that are more coherent and ideal. Rock and roll was the most compelling commodity to enter the teen consumer culture. Gender roles being unequal created a sexist double standard and women were the object of needs and desire of men....   [tags: rock, music, sexuality, history, argumentative, pe]

Powerful Essays
1122 words (3.2 pages)

Role Of Women During Nineteenth Century Britain Essay

- Catalina Morton Mrs. Dixon Senior British English December 9th, 2014 The Role of Women in Mid 19th Century Britain The roles of women have always been a big part of British society. Women have been placed in domestic and less authoritative roles, as compared to the roles that men have been placed in which was to be the provider, and as the leader. Much of the population of the early Victorian era Britain were learning to cope with the new form of labor that was coming about which is known as the industrial revolution....   [tags: Middle class, Working class, Social class]

Powerful Essays
1484 words (4.2 pages)

The Lovemad Woman in Nineteenth Century Literature Essay

- The Lovemad Woman in Nineteenth Century Literature   The lovemad woman was a very important part of nineteenth-century literature. The lovemad woman, originally characterized as a female who becomes insane due to the departure of her lover, was an important character in literature. From Antigone to Ophelia to Jane Eyre, the lovemad woman is seen throughout literature in various contexts. The definition of such a woman changed as the definition of what is it to be a woman in general changed throughout history....   [tags: literature literary criticism]

Free Essays
1026 words (2.9 pages)

Religion as a Major Organizing Ideology to the Social and Political Reality of the Nineteenth-Century

- Religious scholar, Stephen Prothero, sees religion as a major organizing ideology to the social and political reality of the nineteenth-century. For Prothero, there is a close and intimate ideological relation between theological beliefs and a culture; therefore, they are not separable from characterizing the religious mood of the nineteenth-century. Prothero argues that many Americans were, “inspired by [the] republican rhetoric of liberty and equality, and by a popular revolt against deference and hierarchy” (47)....   [tags: Religion]

Powerful Essays
3819 words (10.9 pages)

Gender Roles Of Women 's History Essay

- Gerda Lerner considers differences in societies, and defines categories or stages in the historiography of American women 's history. Societies create gender roles over time, and gender roles are deeply embedded in culture. Differences shape society, from gender to race, and class. Lerner states the stages reflect how the historian 's gaze changes over time as ideas evolve. Compensatory history identifies influential women (leadership) and their activity. Contribution history reflects female contribution to existing narratives....   [tags: Women's suffrage, Women's rights]

Powerful Essays
2335 words (6.7 pages)

Essay on The Rights of Women in 18th Century America

- The Rights of Women in 18th Century America On July 4, 1804, a group of young men in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, offered a series of toasts to commemorate the nation's independence. Among their testimonials, they offered one to a cherished ideal:"[To] the rights of men, and the rights of women-. May the former never be infringed, nor the latter curtailed." The men acknowledged, even celebrated, an innovative and controversial idea: women along with men should be regarded as the bearers of rights....   [tags: American America History]

Powerful Essays
865 words (2.5 pages)

Essay about Russian Working Conditions in the 19th Century

- Russian Working Conditions in the 19th Century Karl Marx drafted The Communist Manifesto with Friedrich Engels in the mid-19th century after living in Moscow and seeing the strife of laborers there. The document was a reflection on the two men’s belief that the wealthier members of society were exploiting the working class. From his experience in Russian society, Marx became concerned with the way that the majority of the “proletariat” class was living. The filthy and inhumane working conditions, the negligible wages, and the way that the employers disrespected their employees, all led to Marx penning The Communist Manifesto....   [tags: Russian History]

Powerful Essays
1509 words (4.3 pages)