Gender Roles in The Yellow Wallpaper

Gender Roles in The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Yellow Paper is a short story published in 1892, and written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Charlotte tells of a disheartening tale of a woman who struggles to free herself from postpartum depression. The Yellow Paper gives an account of an emotionally and intellectual deteriorated woman struggles to break free from a mental prison her husband had put her into, in order to find peace. The woman lived in a male dominated society and wanted indictment from it as she had been driven crazy, because of the Victorian “rest-cure” (Gilman 45). Her husband decided to force her to have a strict bed rest by separating her from her only child. He took her to recuperate in an isolated country estate all alone. The bed rest her husband forced into made her mental state develop from bad to worst. The Yellow Paper is a story that warns the readers about the consequences of fixed gender roles in a male-dominated world. In The Yellow Paper, a woman’s role was to be a dutiful wife and she should not question her husband’s authority and even whereabouts. Whereas, a man’s role was to be a husband, main decision maker, rational thinker and his authority was not to be questioned by the wife.
The narrator in The Yellow Paper was a mother and a wife who was trying to free herself from the prison her husband had put her into. She lived in a male-dominate world whereby she was to be a wife who never questioned her husband’s authority. She suffered from a severe postpartum depression case, yet her marriage depressed her too. The narrator was in a marriage whereby her husband dominated and treated her like a child. Her husband was the sole decision maker and since she lived in a society whereby women were never allowed to question their husband’s decisio...


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...he stopped being the protector and the only rational thinker in the family. In this short story, the men had power over women and they undermined them. The narrator insisted to her husband that she was sick, but he never took her serious instead, he confined her in an isolated place away from home and her child. Eventually both husband and wife loose because, they are trapped in fixed gender roles and could not go against them.



Works Cited

Carnley, Peter. The Yellow Wallpaper and other sermons. New York: Harper Collins, 2001. Print.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. New York: Dover Publications, 1997. Print.
Hume, Beverly A. "Gilman’s ‘Interminable Grotesque’: The Narrator of ‘The Yellow Wallpaper," Studies in Short Fiction 28 (Fall 1991): 477-484.
Hedges, Elaine R. “Afterward” to “The Yellow Wallpaper.”Old Westbury, NY.Feminist Press 1973. Print.

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