Gender Symbolism In The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is set during the late 1890’s, a time when women had no power over their own lives. The gender ideology of separate spheres implied that a woman 's place was in the home and her role of wife and mother. This is obvious in the story as the nameless narrator’s husband John prescribed a rest cure for her in hopes of her returning to the domestic sphere of caretaker of the home, husband and child. The man’s role was to work, make money and all the decisions. The narrator’s story is symbolic of how men dominated women in the late 1800s making them hostages of a restricting patriarchal society. In the story John will represent how a patriarchal society has suppressed women to the place of madness.
Hidden under the assumption of protectiveness for her well-being, John controls what his wife can or can not do. This is typical of late
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As she has begun to give human attributes to an innate object, the wallpaper acted as a trigger for her mental condition. It also indicated that she felt a sense of entrapment and that being trapped was something undesirable. The narrator suffers a split with reality which symbolized an escape from her ordinary life; the oppressive systems of her world.
As the narrator’s need for escape increases, she began to relate herself with the woman in the wallpaper. The woman that creeps inside the wall is not only a reflection of herself, but women in general trapped by the patriarchal society. By violently tearing the confining wallpaper down that locked the fictional woman in, is symbolic of what she wanted to do to the oppressing life her husband had chosen for her. This was also symbolic of her effort to free herself from the confining oppressive structures of male dominated

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