Feminist Criticism of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman is known as the first American writer who has feminist approach. Gilman criticises inequality between male and female during her life, hence it is mostly possible to see the traces of feminist approach in her works. She deals with the struggles and obstacles which women face in patriarchal society. Moreover, Gilman argues that marriages cause the subordination of women, because male is active, whereas female plays a domestic role in the marriage. Gilman also argues that the situation should change; therefore women are only able to accomplish full development of their identities. At this point, The Yellow Wallpaper is a crucial example that shows repressed woman’s awakening. It is a story of a woman who turned into a puppet by taking the pencil for the first time, and realising that she is powerful and free. Furthermore, when we look at Gilman’s life story, we may see that she is in a tight situation between being a hopeless wife and being a willing writer. At this point, when we look at the article “Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper” which is written by Charlotte Gilman, we may see the writer in a similar situation with the character in the short story. Gilman is also obliged to the rest cure, and the doctor similarly says him "live as domestic a life as far as possible," and "never to touch pen, brush, or pencil again" (Mitchell). The forbidding advice may be source of inspiration to write The Yellow Wallpaper which is highly possible to analyse in the light of feminist approach.

Firstly, feminist criticism mostly argues the themes of discrimination, gender inequality, oppression, objectification, and subordination women face. The thing they request is all about equality among two genders, be...

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... instead of repressive advices (ironically) of a male. Therefore, a woman may reach the full development.

To sum up, The Yellow Wallpaper has many crucial points which can be clarified in the light of feminist approach. The story which shows a woman’s struggle to create her own identity and a man’s struggle to keep his power over woman reveals the breaking of taboos through writing. Whereas the story criticizes the woman’s suppressed role in patriarchal society, later on it promotes the woman’s status by breaking the male hegemony at the end of the story. As feminist critics argues, the story tells a journey of a woman to break discriminations, and setting a social structure over the equal order.

Works Cited

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