Free Yellow Wallpaper Essays: Oppression of Women

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The Oppression of Women in The Yellow Wallpaper The Yellow Wallpaper is a story, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Although the work is short, it is one of the most interesting works in existence. Gilman uses literary techniques very well. The symbolism of The Yellow Wallpaper, can be seen and employed after some thought and make sense immediately. The views and ideals of society are often found in literary works. Whether the author is trying to show the ills of society of merely telling a story, culture is woven onto the words. The relationship between the narrator and her husband would be disagreeable to a modern woman's relationship. Today, most women crave equality with their partner. The reader never learns the name of the narrator, perhaps to give the illusion that she could be any woman. On the very fist page of The Yellow Wall-Paper, Gilman illustrates the male dominated society and relationship. It was customary for men to assume that their gender knew what, when, how, and why to do things. John, the narrator's husband, is a prominent doctor and both his and his wife's words and actions reflect the aforementioned stereotype: "John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage," (9). This statement illustrates the blatant sexism of society at the time. John does not believe that his wife is sick, while she is really suffering from post-partum depression. He neglects to listen to his wife in regard to her thoughts, feelings, and health through this thought pattern. According to him, there is not anything wrong with his wife except for temporary nerve issues, which should not be serious. By closing her off from the rest of the world, he is taking her away from things that important to her mental state; such as her ability to read and write, her need for human interaction, her need to make her own decisions. All of these are important to all people. This idea of forced rest and relaxation to cure temporary nervous problems was very common at the time. Many doctors prescribed it for their female patients. The narrators husband, brother, and their colleagues all feel that this is the correct way to fix her problem, which is practically nonexistent in their eyes. Throughout the beginning of the story, the narrator tends to buy into the idea that the man is always right and makes excuses for her feelings and his actions and words: "It is so hard to talk to John about my case, because he is so wise and because he loves me so," (23).
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