Gender Role In The Yellow Wallpaper

Superior Essays
In “The Yellow Wallpaper” Charlotte Perkins Gilman utilizes characterization to demonstrate how men abuse their power to ensure women are perceived as incapable beings, and how this abuse becomes internalized within women, resulting in complicity of oppression and deteriorated mental states. John employs his patriarchal and doctoral standings to diagnosis his wife as mentally ill, thus restricting her in misogynistic gender roles. Through John’s actions, his sister Jennie becomes complicit in confining the woman, as she sees that when women do not stay within the parameters of typical femininity, they are given detrimental treatments that generate and worsen mental illness. The woman internalizes John and Jennie’s actions until her mental illness takes over and she completely rebels.
John is characterized as an aggressive man who abuses his power to ensure his wife is marginalized. John has authority, not only as a man, but as a doctor. He utilizes his authoritative social standings to aid his social
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When his wife tries to express her feelings to him, he invalidates her emotions, to which she begins to believe she is “unreasonably angry” (Gilman 2). An average person would feel anger, being locked away in a sequestered house, but John manipulates his wife into thinking her emotions are unwarranted. Cutter explains that often “[t]he voice of the female patient is strong-armed into silence” and this “ultimately leads to psychosis” that is “certainly tied to the narrator’s gender” (157). Without Gilman’s characterization of John, who forces his wife into submission, there is no source of the woman’s mental illness. With no cause of the woman’s mental illness, the purpose behind “The Yellow Wallpaper” is absent. John is crucial in the story as he is a representation of all men who abuse their power to ensure women remain helpless and

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