John as Role Model for Husbands in The Yellow Wallpaper

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Modern day feminists' enjoy looking into the past to find examples of female oppression. This tactic is employed in the hopes of demonstrating that oppression of their sex by the evil male populous has been going on for decades. One such work that is cited by feminists to showcase just how terrible women were treated in the first part of the twentieth century is Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper." Feminists' are quick to point out that the main character in this story is driven down the path of insanity by her uncaring husband. It is of their opinion that John, the main character's husband, consistently neglects her by keeping her locked away upstairs. Other feminists argue that the main character was not actually insane, rather, she was pushed into a temporary state of delirium as a result of the state of confinement that her husband subjected her to. These same feminists will say that John's consistent misdiagnosis of his wife's condition smacks of incompetence. It is their theory that if the main character were a man during this same period of time, doctors would have treated the condition differently. In other words, men were not diagnosed with hysteria and bedridden for three months when they became depressed. As mentioned before, this is what some modern day feminists think. This is in stark contrast to the interpretation by us modern day realists. John was a good husband that cared deeply about his wife's condition. He is described at the beginning of the story as being "a physician in high standing" (The Norton Anthology, p. 658). This description alone offers deep insight into what kind of treatment his wife was receiving. It is hard to imagine that any woman who is married to an extremely prominent doct... ... middle of paper ... ...he would have taken that golden opportunity to flee the so-called dungeon that her husband had created for her. It can only be assumed that she enjoyed the prison that she created for herself since she didn't flee at any moment of opportunity. In summary, John should be championed as a role model for all aspiring husbands. He consistently showed complete devotion and concern for his wife throughout the story. He did everything within his power to make sure that she would have an expedited recovery from her ailments. John bent over backwards to ensure that all of his wife's needs were taken care of. Leave it to modern day feminists to find harm in that. Bibliography Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wallpaper". The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Ed. Nina Baym. Fifth Edition, Volume 2. W.W. Norton & Company, New York. 1998. P. 657-69.
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