The two works: - The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Atonement by Ian McEwen are about women who in their own rights are writers; in the former an older woman while in the latter a young English girl who is a gifted writer…
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In The Yellow Wallpaper, John who happens to be the woman’s physician husband confines her in solitary confinement, telling their friends and relatives that she is suffering from temporary nervous depression. Since he is of high standing, there was no way of her proving the truth since her brother also a physician of high reputation gives support to her husband John’s claim (Gilman 30). She is given medication in the form of phosphates and any journeys, exercise or tonics are forbidden to her. To ‘work’ is also forbidden until she becomes well again. This includes her writing habit. John is a practical man who believes in only things felt and seen with which figures would best describe. He has intense dislike of superstition with no patience in belief or faith. This brings out the constant battle of superiority between male and female in society. The theme of unwilling imprisonment is brought out here (Gilman 34). John had secured a colonial mansion that had been unattended to for some time. It is well situated, off road with a great green garden. She thinks there might be problems related to the ownership of the house due to its unkempt nature. He lets her do nothing but rest, which she complains to miserably to no avail. His answer is that the trip to the mansion was solely for her sake so that she could rest well. The quote: - "Your exercise depends on your strength, my dear…. and your food somewhat on your appetite; but air you can absorb all the time." (Gilman 58) best exemplifies her husband’s attitude towards her opinions by treating her like a helpless victim. Her confinement leads her to being attached to the wallpaper that covered the walls. It has great patches all over and a fade look of unclean yellow faded by the intense sunlight that hits it on a daily basis. It is quite unique unlike anything she has ever seen with the quote: - “It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide--plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions” (Gilman 79) bringing out the image portrayed by the wallpaper. This goes against rational portrayal of wallpaper as being something beautiful and feminine with the scotching sun portraying the masculine oppression of the feminine gender (Gilman 80). She puts this done in writing only for her husband to appear, therefore cutting short her writing. The confinement troubles her but her husband sees no problem with this as exemplified by the quote: - “John does not know how much I really suffer. He knows there is no REASON to suffer, and that satisfies him.” (Gilman 114) showing the different viewpoints which they both have of the situation. She wants to be out of bed, helping her husband as a wife should be doing but John would hear none of it. The quote: -“I meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort, and here I am a comparative burden already!” shows her willingness to going on with a normal life. Her confinement brings out her hatred of the room with its wallpaper with the quote: -"You know the place is doing you good ….and really, dear, I don't care to renovate the house just for a three months' rental,”
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