Essay on The Portrayal Of Her Self Identity

Essay on The Portrayal Of Her Self Identity

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The narrator struggled with her self-identity primarily due to her unequal relationship with her husband John unequal relationship. Their disproportionate relationship is a picture of the larger gender inequality in society. John’s patronizing and fatherly behavior toward his wife seems to not be due to her illness. He outright dismisses her opinions and her “flights of fancy” with equal aloofness, while he depreciates her creative impulses. The narrator reveals how restrained she is when she says: “There comes John, and I must put this away,-he hates to have me write a word” (Gilman 309). She is a grown woman, and she is not allowed to express her thoughts even on paper. John speaks of her as he would a child, calling her his “little girl” and saying of her, “bless her little heart!” (Gilman 314). John dominates her judgments on the best course of treatment for herself, forcing her to live in a house she despises, in a room she loathes, and in a remote environment which makes her lonesome and miserable. The narrator conveys her discomfort towards the yellow wallpaper:
There are things in that paper which nobody knows but me, or ever will. Behind that outside pattern the dim shapes get clearer every day. It is always the same shape, only very numerous. And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. I don’t like it a bit. I wonder—I begin to think—I wish John would take me away from here!
His condescending and controlling treatment of his wife signifies how many women were imprisoned behind damaging social definitions of being a female.
While her lofty husband John is a representation of all men during that society, the yellow wallpaper itself is one of the main figurative symbols in the story. The y...


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...riumphs over John literally sneakily creeping over him. Nevertheless she escapes from her husband only into insanity. “I’ve got out at last,’ said I, “in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!’ (Gilman 320). The sad reality is that hardly any feasible options existed for intellectual, creative, women to escape the destructive social definitions of being a woman characterized by John. It is evident that denying women full humanity is dangerous to women, family, and society as a whole. The narrator’s belief that she became free because she tore the wallpaper down verifies how the wallpaper embodies the domestic structured lifestyle forced upon the narrator and many women in her society. Truly the narrator’s brave action to tear the wallpaper off demonstrates we are only confined by the walls that we allow to entrap us.

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