Escaping Male Authority in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

Good Essays
For a long time, women were oppressed and controlled by men. Particularly in early 19th century, these thoughts and stereotypes bound women stronger than ever. "The Yellow Wallpaper", written by Charlotte Perkins, Gilman shows us how men and women were treated differently during early 19th century by alluding men and women figures into her two characters, the narrator and her husband. “Yellow Wallpaper” is about one man who controls the narrator and forces her to hide herself and makes her isolated from the world by giving her wrong diagnosis and one woman who is absolutely forbidden to do anything and isolated from the world because of her “depression”. In the story, Gilman conveyed her view of men as authorized, controlling figure that doesn’t appreciate women’s feelings or thought and women as powerless figure that were ignored and oppressed by men through the use of characterization of husband, wife (the narrator), and symbolization.

Gilman conveyed her view of men through the use of characterization of husband, John who symbolizes authorized, controlling figure that ignores women’s feelings or thoughts. In the story, John comes out as the narrator’s husband and doctor. These positions confused him and made him think he is in higher position than his wife. John wanted to help his wife with her depression and cure but at the same time he wanted to authorize her by controlling everything of her. He demanded her not to work and ignored her emotions and thoughts. “…and am absolutely forbidden to “work” until I am well again.” (Gilman 1) “There comes John, and I must put this away, -- he hates to have me write a word.” (Gilman 2) “…tell him how I wish he would let me go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia. But he said I was...

... middle of paper ...

... woman trapped behind the wall symbolizes the narrator, herself. When the narrator pulls down the wallpaper, it also means freedom for herself as well. This also shows how women in early 19th century were “trapped” behind all the stereotypes and ridiculous nonsense and isolated from the world.

Gilman used characterization of husband, wife (the narrator), and symbolization to show the readers how women were treated during early 19th century. Now in 21st century men and women are in equal position and everyone takes this as a natural thing. But in 19th century, these natural things were women’s dream and hope. We should thanks to all people who worked for our rights and be thankful about this freedom.

Works Cited

Kennedy, X. J., and Dana Gioia. "The Yellow Wallpaper." Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. 2011. Print.
Get Access