Essay on Millay's poem, I, being born a woman and distressed and Yellow Wallpaper
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Millay's poem, I, being born a woman and distressed and Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper
Two Works Cited In the early nineteenth century, the issue of whether women should be granted certain privileges, such as voting, arose in America. Two female writers during this time are Edna St. Vincent Millay and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Both women were living in a period of history where women's writings created an impact on literature. Most women were supposed to stay at home and take care of the children and many women were not highly educated; therefore, there were few women writers. Therefore, these writers caught people's attention and made them think about women's issues. Millay's poem, "I, being born a woman and distressed" and Gilman's short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper" share more than their time in history. Both pieces of literature have the common theme of closeness and distance. Women during this time were pushed out by society. They could not have a part in the rest of societal roles and became distant. The women wanted to be close with the rest of society, in order to feel equal, and spoke out for their needs.
The poem, "I, being born a woman and distressed" was written in 1923 by Edna St. Vincent Millay. This was only three years after the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women's voting rights, was adopted. Millay was best known for her lyrical poetry. In this poem she speaks of her feelings toward her lover and how they make her feel. She characterizes herself for her audience as ". . .being born a woman and distressed By all the needs and notions of my kind. . ." By using the words "woman" and "my kind" the reader gets the feeling as if she needed to express her gender. This time in history may have influenced Millay to explain this. Today men and women are more equal, whereas in the 1920s they were discriminated against.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, another twentieth century American writer, lived during this period of radical reform for women. She was a very independent woman of their time who supported herself until she married at the age of twenty-four. After she had her first child, she became clinically depressed and this experience inspired "The Yellow Wallpaper" ,written in 1913. This story describes a woman who is forced to remain in bed without thinking or writing.