Inequality Between Men And Women In The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Gilman

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"The Yellow Wallpaper" by the American writer Charlotte Gilman published in 1892 displays a gothic theme of the gender divide and inequality between men and women in this time period . This short story follows the journal of a woman who is struggling with a serious mental illness , and how she is perceived and criticized by others close to her. Throughout the story we see her descend from sanity due to the lack of knowledge at the time, as well as the mistreatment of women. Gilman craftily conveys this woman 's experience in such an accurate way because she herself suffered from a similar illness and was put under the "rest cure”. This led to her, just like our narrator, not having the freedom she desperately craved to be creative and intellectual…show more content…
Physicians then, were mostly males as most women were expected to look after their husbands and children and run the household. Doctors had little knowledge of inner female bodies and presented convoluted theories about the womb, declaring that it was a source of hysteria and madness, resulting in women 's inferiority. Heads of churches urged women to be faithful and submissive to God and their husbands. The author Gilman uses John as a vehicle to express her condemnation of the existing social treatment of women in general, relegating them to a lower level of humans than men, with less freedom, less expression, and few societal…show more content…
As it has barred windows, the gate at the head of the stairs, the scratch marks on the walls and the nailed down bed. Gilman also uses the yellow wallpaper in the nursery to symbolically represent Jane 's mental illness. Yellow typically represents sickness, death and decay. In the story the yellow starts rubbing off on her as declared by Jennie, John 's sister, who said, "Then she said that the paper stained everything it touched, that she had found yellow smooches on all my clothes" (Gilman 11). Subsequently, Jane discovers the woman behind the wallpaper, who only she can see. This woman symbolizes herself in that she is stuck with her mental illness and confined to her home, just as the "woman" is confined to the wallpaper. She writes, "So I told him that I really was not gaining here, and that I wished he would take me away." (Gilman 9); she feels trapped in the house just as the woman does behind the wallpaper, and begins to feel as if she is that woman. So when she finally eliminates the yellow wallpaper, she (as the trapped woman or hallucination) feels like she has been released and has a new freedom from John and Jane (herself). In her fragile mental state, Jane has traded places with the trapped woman (who is the freed hallucination). The new Jane feels triumphant and then creeps over John which in a sense symbolizes the freedom she so desperately craves." "I 've
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