Gender Roles In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wall

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1. Mark Twain 's Pudd 'nhead Wilson takes place in Dawson 's Landing, Missouri which has a slave culture and still follows a traditional system of honor. The slave system in the town categorizes a person as black using the one drop rule. Roxy and her son look just like the other white people, but they 're categorized as slaves. The narrator explains that "the one-sixteenth of her which was black outvoted the other fifteen parts," and her son who was "thirty-one parts white... was a slave" due to "a fiction of law and custom" (9). Twain 's challenges this rule through the narrator who points out that the whole method of differentiating between Roxy and other white people is fiction or a illogical social creation. Moreover, the fact that Roxy …show more content…
In "The Yellow Wall-Paper," Charlotte Perkins Gilman describes a woman 's struggle with conventional gender roles, a controlling husband, and overwhelming social pressures. The story shows the expectations and feminine stereotypes that were imposed on women. For example, the woman in the story has to silently accept everything her husband tells her to do even when she disagrees with him, she 's not taken seriously, and all her actions or lack of actions are dictated by her husband. The woman explains that "I have a schedule prescription for each hour in the day" (648). John, her husband, decides her schedule, wants her to only rest, and doesn 't let her write or do anything that would excite or stimulate her. She knows though that "congenial work, with excitement and change would" be good for her, but can 't express her desire to write to John, and he doesn 't listen when she actually does (648). She has to suppress her passions, desires, and conform to the opinions of people around her. Jennie 's character in the story seems to be the feminine ideal that she should aspire and conform to. Jennie "is so good with the baby," she 's a "perfect and enthusiastic house keeper, and hopes for no better profession" (650). The woman, however, cannot fit into these stereotypes, since she 's not good with the baby, she hopes for a profession as a writer, and wants to go out to talk to other people for "advice and companionship about" her work (649). The people around her seem to think that "it is the writing which made [her] sick," so they stop her from doing the one thing she loves doing (650). She mostly follows the expectations of her husband, and passively accepts everything, but this negatively effects her mental health. She feels trapped in a room all day with nothing to do except stare at a wallpaper. The wallpaper seems to symbolize her condition though. She sees a woman stuck within it who "seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out" (652). She

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