Rhetorical Analysis Of Gilman 's The Yellow Wallpaper

Rhetorical Analysis Of Gilman 's The Yellow Wallpaper

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No one literary theory is specific enough to explain a literary body of work, various approaches are needed to truly analyze and evaluate the structured themes in literature. The Feminist Approach is the most common literary device used in theorizing Charlotte Perkin Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper; the story is a tale of a Victorian Age woman controlled by a patriarchal society, which is not in question. The second most common approach is the Psychoanalyze criticism, our protagonist Jane is most likely suffering from post-partum depression as theorized by Beate Schöpp-Schilling. The least represented theory is the Structuralism approach. This paper will focus on the third approach and the linear distinction of how closely structuralism correlates to the first two theories.
Before jumping into the three different types of literary criticisms a brief background of Charlotte Perkin’s Gilman and a synopsis is in order. Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper is a semi-autobiographical piece of literature in 1892. Gilman utilized her own experience of post-partum depression after she gave birth to her daughter and expressed her struggle writing using a combination of conflict, irony, and symbolism to visualize the tortured mind of a woman who needing help with depression but instead slipped into madness.
Structuralism
“Structuralism examining underlying structures, such as characterization or plot, and attempted to show how these patterns were universal and could thus be used to develop general conclusions about both individual works and the systems from which they emerged” (Poetry Foundation).
In applying a structuralism to any literary form, it garners an understanding of how to apply the principles of the theory is crucial. Structuralism u...


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...d gender roles set by society. In Janet Haney-Peritz “Monumental Feminism and Literature’s Ancestral House: Another Look at ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, she states “The Yellow Wallpaper” ultimately shows that in a patriarchal society we are all doomed; no one can survive the rigid gender expectations placed upon them” (Haney-Peritz, 2009, p. 104). John is the rational one, the superior species, and a respected member of society as he is a physician. As in any patriarchal society, the man is the one who controls the house, his wife, the money, and sets the rules. While Jane is the placed in the inferior role of womanhood, one who is imaginative rather than rational, and is not respected for her intelligence she is a wife. John’s role is being a husband and logical, her role is nothing more than being a dutiful wife who never questions or challenges her husband’s authority.

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