The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman - The View from the Inside

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The Yellow Wallpaper: The View from the Inside "The Yellow Wallpaper", written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is a story of a woman, her psychological difficulties and her husband's so called therapeutic treatment of her aliments during the late 1800s. The story begins with a young woman and her husband traveling to the country for the summer and for the healing powers of being away from writing which just seems to worsen her condition. Upon reading this intense description of an almost prison like prescription for overcoming "temporary nervous depression" the reader is permeated with the idea the men are nothing more than the wardens in the lives of women. Gilman, does well throughout the story to show with descriptive phrases just how easily and effectively, the man 'seemingly' wields his 'maleness' to control the woman. But, with further interpretation and insight I believe Gilman succeeds in nothing more than showing the weakness of women, of the day, as active persons in their own as well as society's decision making processes instead of the strength of men as women dominating machines. From the beginning of the story forward the narrator speaks of how her husband and other influential men in her life direct her so that she will recover quickly and I believe this to be the initial sign that the feminist perspective will be presented throughout. The narrator shows how although she has a formed opinion (and probably successful idea for her treatment), she is still swayed by her husband's direction with the following passage, "I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus--but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad." Her husband seems to be the one who can change her thoughts because of his 'maleness' or the fact that he is her husband. Nonetheless, she is still being suppressed by a member of the opposing sex. With a further look into this passage though, I believe that this again is nothing more than a sign of the inablities of the narrator. I don't believe her sex to be the cause of her suppression it is her lack of understanding of not only herself, but of how to successfully make others aware of what is best for herself. The narrator also speaks many times in a manner which suggests that because a man speaks she has no means by which to disagree with him because she is a woman, yet another feminist tact.

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