"The Yellow Wallpaper": Obsession Overcomes Oppression

"The Yellow Wallpaper": Obsession Overcomes Oppression

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Obsession Overcomes Oppression

In the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, the reader is taken into the mind of a mentally disturbed woman named Jane who has been imprisoned by trying to fit the stereotypical wife mold of the nineteenth century. The reader is able to take opinions from Jane which reflect the stereotypes of frailty and the nurturing roles given to women. These opinions close all of the doors for the emotions taking place except those of Jane. By showing the story from her perspective, a bias of men is formed. Through Jane's perceptions of her surroundings, the reader is able to understand how men assign the roles of women and essentially, drive them to madness. In learning of Jane's plight as seen through her eyes, a sense of empowerment develops amongst feminist supporters. Not only is there a strong theme of women's oppression by their male counterparts, but the reader is also able to see how this oppression can drive a woman further and further into lunacy.

The narrator, Jane, is suffering from a "temporary depression." She tells us in the beginning that "John is a physician, and perhaps I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind perhaps that he is one reason I do not get well faster." Jane creates a story that expresses the results a woman must deal with while in the care of a man. She certainly loves and trusts her husband but at the same time she has some deep-seated feeling that his treatment of complete and total bed rest is not the best remedy for her. Jane also points out that she has an older brother who is also a physician and agrees with her husband. As a consequence, Jane has no choice but to subjec...


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... up for what she wants and needs. Nevertheless, in doing so she shows her insanity when she is hysterically ripping away the wallpaper and saying that now he can never put her back in there. This is the rock bottom for Jane and her final decent into complete madness.

Jane is undoubtedly in an internal struggle to overcome the male dominance that has been placed upon her. She is a perfect illustration of the position women held in society at that time. As the product of a society that frequently accepts women as being below men, she only wants to escape victorious in freeing herself from her husband's control. Jane simply wants company and support which anyone should be allowed to have. Jane's emotions and ideas exemplify those of all women who struggle to make a place for themselves in a male dominated society. Jane can now "creep" openly when she wants to.

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