Literature is the superlative resource when one is attempting to comprehend or fathom how society has transformed over the centuries. Many written works—whether fictional or nonfictional—express the views of gender roles and societies’ expectations. Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is an exemplary novel that explores these issues. Ester Greenwood was portrayed the superficial and oppressive values of the mid-twentieth century American society through her experiences of gender inequalities and social conformities. Plath’s own life was correspondingly mirrored in this novel; which in turn left the reader aware of the issues in her time period.
The liberation of women has been a subject of conversation since the early 1900s and on that continues today. One of the earliest figures in American feminism is Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” which depicts a nameless woman (some could argue her name is Jane) suffering from depression and anxiety following the birth of her baby (1035). The main character and setting are interrelated in that it depicts the mental pressure and distress placed on women throughout history both literally and figuratively which ultimately could lead to a woman’s demise. The story, told in the first-person point of view, begins with the woman describing the house that her husband John and she are to live in for the next three months. The house is set back from the road and is secluded three miles from the nearest town.
Eleven days after Mary Shelley’s birth, her mother, the famed author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, succumbed to puerperal fever, leaving her [Mary Shelley’s] father, William Godwin, bereft of his beloved companion. In her honor, Godwin puts together a loving tribute entitled Memoirs of the Author of a Vindication of the Rights of Woman, a sensitive and factual account of his deceased wife’s life. 2. The relationship between Mary Shelley and her stepmother was strained. The new Mrs. Godwin provoked Shelley’s ire by encroaching upon her privacy.
She was also one of the most influential feminists who felt strongly about and spoke frequently on the nineteenth-century lives for women. Her short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper" characterizes the condition of women of the nineteenth century through the main character’s life and actions in the text. It is considered to be one of the most influential pieces because of its realism and prime examples of treatment of women in that time. This essay analyzes issues the protagonist goes through while she is trying to break the element of barter from her marriage and love with her husband. This relationship status was very common between nineteenth-century women and their husbands.
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.
However, this could also indicate failure for women as it shows that women can be driven insane by men before they realise the mistreatment in which they have suffered. This shows that in a normal mental state oppressed women are not pro-active and often never attempt to change the way in which the power is distributed. As suggested by Bertens, female independence gets a strong negative connation ¸ which was often seen in the late 1800s, this indicates to the audience the reason for John’s loss in power and the reason behind the narrator being able to ‘step over
Analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper Gender played a very large role in the short story The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It symbolizes the way women were viewed in the 1800’s by society and most importantly, men. The narrator in the story believes that she is sick with a nervous condition. Her husband being a physician, down plays it and forces a treatment of completely isolating her in a room from the outside world, as well as restricting her from being active and writing. As the narrator writes in her hidden journal, we start to discover how peculiar she really is when she becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper.
In 1935, another tragedy shook the Weymss household. Peggy's father Robert died after catching pneumonia. Margaret's last family death in her early years was in 1936 when Peggy's grandmother Jane, contracted Polio. It was around this time that Peggy began to write, in an attempt to escape the horrible nightmare she was living, by creating imaginary worlds. Margaret found that writing was the only way she could control external events, such as life and death.
At the age of 24, Charlotte married her first husband, Charles Watson Stetson, with whom she bore a daughter, Katharine Beecher Stetson. Shortly after giving birth, Charlotte began to suffer from severe postpartum depression and had a nervous breakdown. She spent some time at a sanitorium in Pennsylvania, under the care of Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell (Merriman). In 1913, Gilman wrote “Why I Wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’”; For many years I suffered from a severe and continuous nervous breakdown tending to melancholia – and beyond. During about the third year of this trouble I went, in devout faith and some faint stir of hope, to a noted specialist in nervous diseases, the best known in the country.
Evidence for these and further repressions can be found in the short stories of 19th century writers. Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, which relates partially to her own personal experiences as a woman under her husbands overwhelming influence. Charles Dickens’ story ‘The Black Veil’ also displays a view on women, as does ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ by W. W. Jacobs, which can be portrayed as a male-dominated narrative. Comparisons and contrasts can be made between these two novels, and ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’. ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ shows examples of men’s attitudes towards women, as well as women’s responses to these attitudes.