Patriarchy In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

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Constant oppression and submission was expected of women in the nineteenth century, and they spent their lives being molded into the perfect housewife and mother, learning how to dote over a man and to please him constantly. The story of a young woman who was confined to a nursery for rest and the cure of her mental illness was first published in 1892. As her husband, John, refuses to remove wallpaper that disturbs her, she slowly becomes obsessed with it, and with what she sees in it. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s exaggerated autobiography, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the reader is immersed in a setting of disguised insanity and patriarchy through symbolism, and Gilman used her own life events to capture the emotion and drive of oppressed women …show more content…
Symbolism of the nursery can be linked back to the postpartum depression in young mothers, as Gilman strategically “underscores her identity by placing her in a room that was formerly a nursery… barred windows… an infant would not be able to leave its nursery; neither is its mother” (Wagner-Martin 291). Women of the time did not work or go out without permission from the head of their household. Once having given birth, they were often not able to leave their child, confined to the permanent responsibilities of motherhood. The narrator hardly mentions the baby throughout the story due to not tending to it; yet, the nursery serves as a constant reminder of her newborn child (Gilman 3-4). As oppressed women were constantly treated as children, they often began behaving like a child and seeing from an infantile point of view. The room the narrator had wanted in “The Yellow Wallpaper” is noted to have only one window, and it is covered in roses (Gilman 2). A famous saying is that those with positive, naive mindsets, “view the world from rose-colored glasses.” Her desire for this room is showing her compulsion to obtain a rose-colored, childish view of reality, and to escape from her impending responsibilities by switching place with the child and taking its role in the family (Veered

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