The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1352 Words Nov 10th, 2016 6 Pages
The Yellow Wallpaper was unconventional in its time and extensively aware of the injustice women endured in America’s patriarchal society. For this reason alone, it can be argued that The Yellow Wallpaper, written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, challenged marginalisation of American women in the 1890s, even as it restricts them within men’s houses. The Yellow Wallpaper focuses on marginalisation, which is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘the treatment of a person, group, or concept as insignificant or peripheral’. Gilman’s transparency towards the topic of marginalisation empowers a voice which otherwise may be silent or go unheard. However, it can also be argued that The Yellow Wallpaper falls victim to the encouragement of marginalisation due to its exaggerated depiction of insanity.
The short story by Gilman features a female protagonist in an androcentric society. “John is a physician” could be viewed as a description of the female character’s husband to aid the reader’s judgement of the character but it also shows the predominant focus on men in society. John’s profession is mentioned before the main character talks about herself. This suggests that John is the active character, and the narrator takes a passive stance. Gilman displays the androcentric hegemony of the late 19th century using the pages as a canvas whereby the male character consumes the majority of the narrative leaving the narrator as a bystander in her own story of ‘incipient insanity’.

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