Essay on What is one to do?

Essay on What is one to do?

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For the great majority of people “what is one to do?” is a rhetorical question or a submissive utterance which appears in the outstanding short story The Yellow Wallpaper written by the American author Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Doubtless, with this question the writer seeks to withdraw the generally accepted role of women in the past century by simply guiding the readers to take a dare to answer “what is one to do ?”. It can be argued that the 19th century was a different period and women were used to be submissive, although, one cannot deny that there is always an answer to this question echoing through the paper. Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Virginia Woolf, writers of The Story of an Hour , The Yellow Wallpaper , and The Legacy respectively, use their masterpieces to give a moving answer to those readers who maintain unanswered the question of what is there to do against oppression. Furthermore, one should not forget the fact that these striking writers proved with their own lives and sacrifices that the course of fashion can be changed.
The first aspects to point out are the themes adjacent to these, for those times unusual, stories. We can observe clearly that the three protagonists of the short stories lived oppressed under the exhausting weight of unhappy marriages. Such is the case of Louise in The Story of an Hour where, there is stated that she was not happy when married with her husband who is thought to be dead in an accident:“And yet she had loved him - sometimes-.Often she had not.”(2) Take for example the last sentence in The Legacy where the reason for Angela to kill herself is explained: “She had stepped off the kerb to escape from him.”(5). In addition to this, the writer of the story The Yello...


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... chauvinism. It is also important to think back about men’s absolute power in the past over fields such as medicine or social life of women. Their chauvinism led them to wrong analysis or treatments of illnesses like the resting cure or isolation of women for a supposed nervous problem. However, the underestimation of women’s capabilities led to a great struggle to get out of the wallpaper that pictured women as the weak sex. It is thanks to great women who stood up for their rights in the past and still speak up through their legacies that women of today and tomorrow will remain strong and aware of a certain answer when the questions of what is one to do arises: there is always something left to do. The time when women were not respected was left in the past. Now, it is not time for questions; now it is time for answers and actions speak louder than words.




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