Gender Relations In The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

963 Words 4 Pages
In the 19th century women with nervous illnesses would be treated with the rest cure which “… involves isolation, enforced bed rest, and… constant feeding… reducing the dependency of an infant” (Science Museum). Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote the “The Yellow Wallpaper” in which the narrator undergoes severe depression after giving birth then is prescribed the rest cure by her husband/physician John. An analysis of the yellow wallpaper shows one perspective of gender relations during the 19th century was that women were inferior in marriages because they were kept in childish states, men would dominate their wives, and women did not have control over their lives.
Women were kept in childish states during this time period by their husbands and
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This is evident throughout the story, especially when she starts to explain the problem in the story. “If a physician of high standing and one’s own husband [says it is just] … temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do? Personally, [she] disagree with their ideas . . .” (Gilman 648). Here she relinquished the control of her life to her husband and physician so she does not bother sharing her opinions. Also the broken up rhythm show she hurried to finish the entry this is a symbol of women hiding their interests of working outside for the sake of what is acceptable in society. Another instance where she is aware of the oppression is in the final scene of the story where she realizes she is the “women stuck in the pattern “and rationalizes that there are “so many of those… women” who are all stuck behind the wall of gender roles in marriage she “wonder[s] if they all come out of that wall-paper” (Gilman 656 ). She was aware of the fact that she did not have a say in the smallest details of life and retreats to her wall fantasy as a mean of control. Similarly, women who worked “domestic drudgery , [and is] prevailing gender norms made them incapable of … enjoying freedom” as a result, women became feminist and freed women by striking for personal independence such as the new York shirtwaist strike where women workers fought in labor strikes (Foner 685-694). In short, these movements are rooted from the need for

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