Power and Gender Roles

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Power and Gender Roles During the early 19th century and prior, women were hyper-sexualized as mediocre and suppressed by the male population. Men demanded authority by defining female roles and responsibilities in society. Although all women of time paid the price for male egotistical behaviors, mainly the middle and sometimes upper class were affected. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s critically acclaimed story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, first published in the New England Magazine, in January 1892, is a narrative study of Gilman's own nervousness (Smith). The story analyzes the injustices women faced at the hands of their husbands. The main character is diagnosed with postpartum depression, a type of depression that develops in some women after birthing a baby; and she is put on the resting cure for the summer. Gilman, like the narrator of her story, sought medical help from the famous neurologist, Dr. Weir Mitchell but receive no useful help. Gilman writes of the woman trapped by her husband’s commands when he locks her in a room, forbidden to raise her children because of her “extreme condition” (Gilman 792). The unnamed protagonist remains locked in the room upstairs for weeks, progressively getting worse because she is forced to take prescribed medicine every hour of each day (Gilman 794). She begins to scrutinize the aging and repulsive yellow wallpaper of her room and grows clinically insane as each day passes way. Gilman uses this story to critique the position of women within the institution of marriage, especially as practiced by the respectable classes of the period. Throughout the era in which “The Yellow Wallpaper” was first published, readers were overwhelmed by Gilman’s descriptive writing style, even adding it to the lis... ... middle of paper ... ...orever continue but male suppression has dramatically declined over time. Charlotte Gilman, among other female writers, poets, and artists of the time deserve a commemoration because their works have greatly contributed to the rise of women’s strength and power. Soon, equality will prevail, and there shall truly be justice for all. Works Cited Gilbert, Kelly. "Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper"" Gilman, "Yellow Wallpaper" Florida Gulf Coast University, 27 July 1998. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. Gilman, Charlotte P. "The Yellow Wallpaper." The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Nina Baym and Robert S. Levine. Eight ed. Vol. C. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2012. 790-804. Print. Smith, Pat. "Freeing the Woman behind the Wallpaper: The Symbolic Meaning of the Yellow Wallpaper." Bergen Community College Homepage. Bergen, 15 Nov. 2006. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.

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