Gender Causes Of Insanity In Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

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Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a story of a women trapped in her own life. Set in the 1800s, this was a time where men and women’s roles were very strictly defined. Women were looked at as having no effect on society other than maintaining a clean house, bearing children, getting food on the table, etc. There was really not any means for self-expression as a woman when the men dominated society. The woman in the story wishes to break free from the confines of her life as most women during this time wanted to do. The narrator in "The Yellow Wallpaper" is being oppressed by her husband, even though many readers would say this story is about a woman who falls into insanity, it is also is about a woman’s desire to gain something she has never had, which is control of her life. The narrator experiences, mental, physical, and emotional imprisonment from her husband which makes her unable to do this. This is what I believe is the cause of her mental instability in the first place. She felt trapped in society, and trapped in her marriage. This was only the start to her illness. With her and her husband’s inability to separate themselves from their gender roles, her illness worsened ultimately driving her to insanity. During this time women were seen as weak and less …show more content…
If John was not so overconfident in his reason and authority as a husband and doctor, he might have been able to help save his wife. If only he had listened to her, he may not have lost her to madness. If the narrator had not been so easy to conform to John’s wishes, and had not assumed he was always right, she might have been able to stand up for herself. She may have been able to challenge her husband and maybe get the help she really needed. Her condition worsens because both of them believe that John knows best. In the end they both lose because they are trapped in fixed gender

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