Women During The Victorian Era Essay

Women During The Victorian Era Essay

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According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, women experience clinical depression at twice the rate of men. A two to one ratio exists regardless of racial or ethnic background or economic status. The lifetime prevalence of major depression is 20-26% for women and 8-12% for men. During the Victorian era during 1837 to 1901 women were traditionally viewed as a possession and not an individual. As they held the stereotype of staying at home and dedicating themselves to feminine duties, such as cleaning and cooking, they did not play any roles in academic thinking or a worthy education. But not all women were trapped in the stereotype of being property than being their own individual self. Some chose to speak out to let the world know about the struggles women went through. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” Stetson, a feminist, exercises self-expression, female isolation, and inferiority to create confinement of women in society.
Stetson develops self-expression throughout the piece in order to create confinement of women in society. While the protagonist, Jane, writes about her sickness everyday while she is isolated in her small bedroom, where John is expected to take care of her. With Jane being sick in a mental state, it is hard for her to express herself and the only way she can is through writing. “I did write for awhile in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal-having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition” (page 648). In this quote, Stetson portrays that the protagonist writes to express herself in a way that John cannot control. One example is John. She states that having to be quiet about writing so that John will not catch her. The idea of self-expression in “it is getting to be a gr...


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...practically hears his voice in her own head, telling her what to think and do. Stetson’s use of John’s inferiority throughout the story creates the idea of confinement of women in society.
Whether it is through self-expression, female isolation, or inferiority, Stetson employs these literary devices to relay the message of confinement of women in society to readers. Stetson made it clear in “The Yellow Wallpaper” that women in the Victorian era were portrayed less than men. In contrast, Stetson also makes it clear to readers that no certain gender role determines the abilities of men and women. While the narrator struggles with clinical depression, she strives to free herself of her husband’s authority over her. As Stetson, a feminist conveys the difficult hardships women went through during this time, and she was desired to change the society of women forever.


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