A Feminist in Action in The Yellow Wallpaper

A Feminist in Action in The Yellow Wallpaper

Length: 1794 words (5.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

 
"The Yellow Wallpaper," by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, depicts a woman in isolation, struggling to cope with mental illness, which has been diagnosed by her husband, a physician.   Going beyond this surface level, the reader sees the narrator as a developing feminist, struggling with the societal values of the time.  As a woman writer in the late nineteenth century, Gilman herself felt the adverse effects of the male-centric society, and consequently, placed many allusions to her own personal struggles as a feminist in her writing.  Throughout the story, the narrator undergoes a psychological journey that correlates with the advancement of her mental condition.  The restrictions which society places on her as a woman have a worsening effect on her until illness progresses into hysteria.  The narrator makes comments and observations that demonstrate her will to overcome the oppression of the male dominant society.  The conflict between her views and those of the society can be seen in the way she interacts physically, mentally, and emotionally with the three most prominent aspects of her life:  her husband, John, the yellow wallpaper in her room, and her illness, "temporary nervous depression."  In the end, her illness becomes a method of coping with the injustices forced upon her as a woman.  As the reader delves into the narrative, a progression can be seen from the normality the narrator displays early in the passage, to the insanity she demonstrates near the conclusion.

As the story begins, the narrator's compliance with her role as a submissive woman is easily seen.  She states, "John laughs at me, but one expects that in marriage" (Gilman 577).  These words clearly illustrate the male's position of power in a marriage t...


... middle of paper ...


..., Gilman acknowledges the fact that much work is needed to overcome the years of injustice.  Through the concluding scenes where the narrator goes into her mental illness rebellion, Gilman encourages women to do what they can to stand up for themselves.                

      

Works Cited

Mahin, Michael J.  The Awakening and The Yellow Wallpaper:  "An Intertextual Comparison of the "Conventional" Connotations of Marriage and Propriety."  Domestic Goddesses (1999). Web. 29 June 2015.
http://www.womenwriters.net/domesticgoddess/mahin.htm

Gilbert, Sandra M. and Susan Gubar. “A Feminist Reading of ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’.” The Story and Its Writer. Ann Charters. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. Print.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins.  "The Yellow Wallpaper." Gutenberg.org  Web. 27 June 2015.   
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1952/1952-h/1952-h.htm
 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Moving Beyond Motherhood in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

-      Since its original publication in The New England Magazine in May 1892 and its subsequent resurrection by modern feminists in the l970's, Charlotte Perkins Gilman's novella, "The Yellow Wallpaper" has gone through varied interpretations. When it was originally written, "The Yellow Wallpaper" was considered a tale of horror, so horrible in fact, that one editor, Horace Scudder of the Atlantic Monthly, refused the work because he did not want to make others as miserable as he was when he read it....   [tags: The Yellow Wallpaper Essays]

Powerful Essays
4028 words (11.5 pages)

The Yellow Wallpaper: A Stifling Relationship

- Husband-Doctor: A Stifling Relationship In Gilman’s “the Yellow Wallpaper” At the beginning of “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the protagonist, Jane, has just given birth to a baby boy. Although for most mothers a newborn infant is a joyous time, for others, like Jane, it becomes a trying emotional period that is now popularly understood to be the common disorder, postpartum depression. For example, Jane describes herself as feeling a “lack of strength” (Colm, 3) and as becoming “dreadfully fretful and querulous” (Jeannette and Morris, 25)....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Powerful Essays
1563 words (4.5 pages)

Analysis of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's A Yellow Wallpaper, and Eudora Welty's A Worn Path

- When studying patterns and trends in society, some sociologists refer to the unequal distribution of property, power, and prestige around the world as social stratification. This stratification forms the basis of the divisions of society and categorizations of people. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path,” Gilman and Welty both explore the implications of a stratified society divided on gender and race, respectively, on their protagonist’s psyches....   [tags: Social Stratification, American Literature]

Powerful Essays
2087 words (6 pages)

Essay on Sexism and Gender Roles

- Throughout history, sexism and gender roles in society has been a greatly debated topic. The Women’s Rights Movements, N.O.M.A.S. (The National Organization of Men Against Sexism), M.A.S.E.S. (Movement Against Sexual Exploitation and Sexism), and many other movements and groups have all worked against the appointment of gender roles and sexist beliefs. Many authors choose to make a controversial topic a central theme in their work of literature, and the theme of gender roles is no exception. “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou, “Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich, and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman all address the gender roles that have been placed by society....   [tags: society, Maya Angelou, The Yellow Wallpaper]

Powerful Essays
973 words (2.8 pages)

Comparing Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper; and Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour

- Comparing Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and Kate Chopin's 'The Story of an Hour' 'The Yellow Wallpaper';, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and 'The Story of an Hour';, by Kate Chopin, are alike in that both of the women in the stories were controlled by their husbands which caused them to feel an intense desire for freedom. Both stories were also written from a feminist point of view. However, the women in the stories had different life changes and different responses to their own freedom as a result of that change....   [tags: Comparison Contrast Compare Essays Papers]

Powerful Essays
1083 words (3.1 pages)

Feminist Perspective on Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

- The Yellow Wallpaper, Written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is comprised as an assortment of journal entries written in first person, by a woman who has been confined to a room by her physician husband who he believes suffers a temporary nervous depression, when she is actually suffering from postpartum depression. He prescribes her a “rest cure”. The woman remains anonymous throughout the story. She becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper that surrounds her in the room, and engages in some outrageous imaginations towards the wallpaper....   [tags: the yellow wallpaper]

Powerful Essays
1272 words (3.6 pages)

Essay A Journey into Drama: An Analysis of Setting in Feminist Plays

- ... He also states that “she looked queer.” These statements denote a belief that Mrs. Wright was incompetent, and that she was not acting as a woman shall after their husband dies. The setting of the cold farm, and delipidated home are symbolic for the inferior nature of an early 1900’s woman. The enclosement of women is present in her mental state of non-action while in her rocker. Enclosed and defined space is a major aspect of another dramatic feminist work: “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman....   [tags: setting, plays, symbol, ownership]

Powerful Essays
977 words (2.8 pages)

The Yellow Wallpaper as an Attack on Radical Feminism

- The Yellow Wallpaper as an Attack on Radical Feminism              “The Yellow Wallpaper” explores mental illness and, through this exploration, presents a critique of the place of women in a patriarchal society. Interestingly, Charlotte Perkins Gilman never intended the latter. The primary intent of her short story is to criticize of a physician prescribed treatment called rest cure. The treatment, which she underwent, required female patients to “’live as domestic a life as possible’” (Gilman)....   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]

Powerful Essays
1143 words (3.3 pages)

Gothic and Feminist Elements of The Yellow Wallpaper

- Gothic and Feminist Elements of The Yellow Wallpaper       Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" has been interpreted in many ways over the years. Modernist critics have applied depth psychology to the story and written about the symbolism of sexual repression in the nursery bars, the chained-down bed, and the wallpaper. Genre critics have discussed the story as an example of supernatural gothic fiction, in which a ghost actually haunts the narrator. But most importantly, feminist critics (re)discovered the story in the 1970s and interpreted it as a critique of a society that subjugated women into the role of wife and mother and repressed them so much that all they could ever...   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Powerful Essays
1497 words (4.3 pages)

Feminist Aspects of The Yellow Wallpaper

- Feminist Aspects of The Yellow Wallpaper   The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman can by read in many different ways.  Some think of it as a tragic horror story while others may find it to be a tale of a woman trying to find her identity in a male-dominated society.  The story is based on an episode in Gilman's life when she suffered from a nervous disease called melancholia.  A male specialist advised her to "live a domestic a life as far as possible.. and never to touch a pen, brush or pencil..."   (Gilman, 669).   She lived by these guidelines for three months until she came close to suffering from a nervous breakdown.  Gilman then decided to continue writing, despite the...   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Powerful Essays
734 words (2.1 pages)