Essay on The Is A Woman By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Essay on The Is A Woman By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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As Virginia Wolfe once stated, “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman” ( ). The word female has had countless meanings throughout its lifespan. Females can be seen as lowly and cheap, regal and sophisticated, or weak and underutilized. It has only been in the last 70 years that women have gained a foothold in society, to gain the rights they deserve. In the late 1800’s a new writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman questioned society’s views on the idea of being female and tried to make them understand that females are a force to be reckoned with and not a doormat for men to step on. She would not stand to be labeled anonymous.
That is not to say that Gilman did not have issues with being a female throughout her life. At a young age, Gilman witnessed the harsh effects that men can have on women. As an infant, her father abandoned her family. This tragedy left her mother in complete shambles. Through this Gilman realized that women cannot depend on men for stability. In turn women must make themselves more self-sufficient. She followed this mindset throughout the next 24 years of her life. Gilman provided for herself through college until she fell prey to one man’s charm, Charles Walter Stetson. They married in 1884 and had a daughter soon after. These events caused Gilman to become subordinate to the man’s world. She could not stay away from becoming a stilted housewife. However, she also could not keep quiet any longer. After she questioned the status that she held as the woman in her marriage, she fell backwards into a state of depression and madness ( for paraphrasing ).
“The Yellow Wallpaper” was Gilman’s way of explaining the confinement and isolation she experienced while going through her ‘rest cure’ treatment for her suppose...


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...Gilman was trying to portray. Language is seen as a, “communication of thoughts and feelings through a system of arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols” ( ). After reading the short story a few more times, I realized that Gilman’s language and word choice allowed for a certain sense of patriarchal domination to be the center of the piece. In the 1890s women were supposed to be subservient and willing to do anything for the man and Gilman expressively captures that relationship between dominator and subordinate. Her husband John was able to be the dominator by calling the narrator extremely demeaning pet names such as, “little girl,” and retorts back to her with, “bless her little heart” (454). These slight sayings reveal that he does not view her as an equal or even an adult he views her as the child that she would soon somewhat become.

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