The Yellow Wallpaper and The Chrysanthemums

1015 Words5 Pages
Restraints are set by parents on their children to aid with the developmental process and help with the maturity level. Restrictions and the ability to control exist in our society and our lives. We encounter restraints daily: job, doors, people, and the most frequently used and arduous become intangible. In the following stories tangible and intangible scenarios are presented. Autonomy, desires, and talents spurned by the husbands in John Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums and Charlotte Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The authors share views regarding a similar theme of male domination and imprisonment. “The Yellow Wallpaper” involves the treatment of a depressed woman who is driven insane in a male imposed detention in her own room. On the other hand, Elisa Allen in the “The Chrysanthemums” struggles internally to find her place in a fully male dominated society with definite gender roles. The mirror-like situations bring upon a different reaction for both the women in different ways. The importance of symbolism, control from their husbands, and the lack of a healthy marriage will be discussed in this paper in two stories.

Elisa Allen and the narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper” are both trapped in various ways and the sexuality leads to this entrapment. Elisa feels confined and limited; “the high grey-flannel fog of winter closed off the Salinas Valley from the sky and from all the rest of the world” (226). Trapped inside the house and feels isolated from the world outside. The chrysanthemums symbolize her scope of life where she devotes most of her time with this activity. The chrysanthemums, strong and thriving, portray Elisa’s current physical condition. She treats the chrysanthemums like her children; “she held the flower po...

... middle of paper ...

...e husbands possess a male ego of power that leads to lack of understanding in their marriages.

The wallpaper symbolizes the trapped narrator and the structure of the tradition. Also, Elisa’s chrysanthemums are discarded and the narrator’s feelings are disowned which portrays the rejection of women. Elisa ends up “crying weakly like an old woman” and settles for wine (233). The narrator’s actions lead to her husband fainting “but he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time” (447). The narrator is insane and causes faintness in her husband, hoping that she now has an escape. To conclude, John Steinbecks “The Chrysanthemums” and Charloette Perkins “The Yellow Wallpaper” show two different outcomes mainly arisen due to being trapped inside an isolated house or a garden and having a limited life under a husband's control.
Open Document