Women in this era had just begun to secure some freedom from their typical cultural expectations. They were expected to take care of the children, cook, clean, sew and be presentable to society. As jobs were made available to women, only a low percentage of these women started to work outside of the home. This means that many women had chosen to stay inside the home to remain in the role of “house keeper”. Even though the woman attained some freedom they were still considered inferior to men. Men still had the most authority in the household and whatever they said was obeyed.
There are several factors in the story that leads to evidence of the theme conveying men and how they control women. Due to the narrators condition she is “forbidden to “work” until…” (Gilman 478) she is well. She is a writer but she is not allowed to do what she loves because of the medical regimen her husband put her on. This regimen was known as the “rest cure” (Mays 478) created by Silas Weir Mitchell. The “rest cure” included a regimen of “enforced bedrest, seclusion and overfeeding” (Stiles 32). The creator of this cure, Mitchell, had another cure for men called the “west cure” (Stiles 32). The “west cure” had activities su...
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...ually becomes insane at the end of the story. It’s as if she had started to see the yellow wallpaper of the room as a barrier between her husband and herself. She tore down the paper in hopes that the barrier between men and women would cease to exist. When she says “I’ve got out at last,” “…you can’t put me back!” (Gilman 489) she is mentally free from her controlling husband. John, though seems loving at times, has taken the role of man defined by societal expectations. He cares for his wife but has demonstrated that he controls her in all aspects of her life. The narrator, like her husband, has taken the role of the woman who does everything she can, even places herself deeper into depression, to keep her husband happy. While the roles between men and women began to change, “The Yellow Wallpaper” conveys what life was like through theme in the nineteenth century.
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