The Yellow Wallpaper Patriarchy

1805 Words 8 Pages
An important role in the narrator’s acting out of her creativity plays the yellow wallpaper. In the course of the story Jane develops an obsession with the wallpaper and projects all her imagination on it. The wallpaper is used as a metaphor for the patriarchal system, but also a representation of the narrator’s mind (cf. Treichler 64).

At first it should be analysed how the wallpaper is described by the narrator in the story. From the beginning on, Jane characterizes it as the worst paper she saw in her life ( 156) and describes it as “horrid paper” (Gilman 1992: 157) with a “vicious influence” (Gilman 1992: 158). Especially the pattern irritates the narrator, because it “confuses the eye” (Gilman 1992: 156). Jane sees unusual expression
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There was no equality between men and women: While men were supposed to be strong, intelligent and powerful, women should live up to the standards of The Cult of True Womanhood. Women should stay in the domestic sphere, engage in household tasks and child-rearing and were not allowed to pursue a sophisticated profession or any intellectual tasks. From a feminist viewpoint Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a critique of the gender roles prevalent at the time it was written. The female protagonist is living in the middle of a patriarchal society and is not willing to accept these societal structures. Additionally, it criticizes the Rest Cure, which was a common treatment for women at that time. Instead of taking the pain of women serious, it was often just trivialized as hysteria and treated with resting. However, the narrator of the short story does not want to be treated like that because she needs to act out her creativity. Secretly, she revolts again the system by writing her diary against the will of her patriarchal husband. This is the first step of her liberation from the prison of marriage. Only her creativity makes it possible for the protagonist to escape the control of her husband. Her creativity, however, is slowly turning to insanity. Charlotte Perkins Gilman clearly shows this increasing level of insanity by depicting the development of the narrator. At first her stream of thoughts is rational and imaginative, but later her thoughts become absurd. It seems that he female protagonist is living in a parallel world and even splits her personality. By using a lot of symbolism and numerous metaphors the author manages to criticize the traditional gender roles and makes clear that patriarchy is the reason for the narrator’s madness. The analysis of the development of the narrator shows that the final insanity of the

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