A Comparison Of Feminism In 'The Yellow Wallpaper'

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“The Yellow Wallpaper” illustrates a feminist view on the physical and mental hardships faced by women. Feminism is the advocacy for women's rights on the basis of equality for all sexes. A feminist text reveals the author’s agenda for women in society as they relate to injustice by a patriarchal society and the idea of social norms. A feminist text will be written in order to point out deficits in society regarding equal opportunity. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is about the unnamed narrator who faces the female struggles in a male dominant society where the woman has to obey the social norms. She is locked away by her husband/doctor, John, who treats her as if she is nothing and cannot do anything for herself. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte…show more content…
John is society’s greatest example of a dominant spouse who holds absolute control over his wife. The narrator writes how “John laughs at [her], of course, but one expects that in marriage” (Gilman 1). This depicts how men such as John viewed their wives opinions or ideas as laughable, never taking them seriously because they are just “little girl[s]” (9). The narrator is also supposed to trust that her husband/doctor is always correct and that whatever she feels is wrong is nothing but a misdiagnosis on her part, since she is not to be trusted with such matters, such as medicine. For example, the narrator makes mention of taking “phosphates or phosphites” (1), but yet again the reader can see here how women are overlooked when it comes to education, or in this case the ideas of science and medicine because it is not a woman’s job, but rather a man’s. In this aspect of how women are treated, the reader notices how minimal the respect is for women –– it is non existent –– because women are seen as take care of the house and nothing more, since men believe women cannot amount to anything…show more content…
In references to old objects in the setting and the past is a reference to the outdated practices and treatment of women. Gilman describes the garden of the house as “delicious” (2), perhaps, as an allusion to a woman’s place in the kitchen. Based on what the reader views in this story, a woman would naturally be fascinated by a garden. Gilman’s character is a naive, faithful wife who does as her husband instructs her to, which yet again connects her to the idea of how women are worth nothing in mens’ eyes. A home is considered to be a free place, but to the narrator and other women it may feel like a prison (e.g. the bars on the windows for the narrator) since all women are allowed is tend to the house and children (but not in the narrator’s case). The wallpaper, however, is the focal point of the author’s agenda for the story. Gilman slowly introduces the oppression of women through the wallpaper as a symbol of male authority. The stench of the paper gives a sense of pervasive and inescapable injustice, which is like the pervasive and foul effects of male domination. Only after reflection and contemplation can the symbols on the wallpaper be seen, and only then can the narrator understand her meaning. The patterns on the paper slowly develop from bulbous eyes to a woman shaking bars, creating a
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