Early female critics began to analyze images of women in literature and discovered that throughout history many male authors characterized women as being subservient and docile while depicting the male protagonist as a hero whose actions gave meaning to the female character. Narrowing their focus to the traditional literary cannon, female critics found that male authors greatly outnumbered their female counterparts. Female critics began to question the validity of the male dominated cannon and concluded that it was created by males who were under the assumption that readership was exclusively male. However, many women critics insisted that female readers were offended by the male dominated cannon and examined the few literary works in the literary cannon of female authors. These critics determined that female authors during the nineteenth-century covertly deployed certain writing techniques to show their confinement and resentment toward a male dominated society.
In Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar’s essay, “ From Infection in the Sentence: The Woman Writer and the Anxiety of Authorship,” they claim that in order for female writers to obtain authority, they had to “swerve” from the male driven genre and history, which made their writing seem “odd” to the male readership. Since these works did not adhere to male dominated genre of that era, they often failed to gain deserved recognition. Some women writers created a different point of view by presenting their own female concerns into secret or obscure corners in their texts. Therefore, for Gilbert and Gubar, some works by women of the nineteenth-century have submerged meanings or hidden plots behind the more accessible and simplistic co...
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...this era while other feminist critics could see the ending as a role reversal of sorts. The narrator has symbolically liberated herself to the position of a man while her husband’s fainting can be read as him falling to the weak nineteenth-century female.
Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar’s essay contains certain aspects of feminine criticism such as spatial imagery, metaphoric confinement, and symbolic liberation from oppression. Their essay contends these covert concepts were present in most female authors writings of the nineteenth-century. A close feminist reading of “The Yellow Wallpaper” reveals the presence of many of Gilbert and Gubar concepts. The short story’s accessible and simplistic content alone does not provide the reader with a means to determine if the hidden plots were intentional or subconscious, but they are nonetheless evident.
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