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A response on The Yellow Wallpaper - Thesis Example

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote The Yellow Wallpaper in the times of great transition of women’s roles from the middle class in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century America. Throughout the the text, a strong feminist attitude prevails in the tone and theme accentuated by the main character…
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A response on The Yellow Wallpaper
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The earliest seeds of feminism brought new changes to the lives of women. During the late 19th Century, they began to express demands on equality, along with the rapid industrialization and their inclusion in the workforce. Gilman’s short fiction reveals the restriction of women’s roles in the society. There are various things that the narrator sees within the yellow wallpaper, which are actually expressions of resistance for the unequal treatment of women in that time. According to Hume, “The Yellow Wallpaper" appears to be a text that simultaneously mirrors Gilman's ideological limitations as a feminist reformer, and symbolically moves beyond those limitations” (par. 4) The first time the narrator is in the room where the wallpaper is found, she just described it as a “particularly irritating one” (9). However, the longer she stayed in the room, the more fixated she becomes with the wallpaper. It is noticed that the intensity of adjectives used to describe the wallpaper increases. . For example, the narrator describes it to be “irritating,” “horrid,” and “hideous;” the increasing intensity of the descriptions may connote that the more society suppresses women’s rights, the more they are encouraged to fight for it. On the other hand, it could also describe the feeling of women towards their limitations to ‘motherly roles.’ When the narrator’s obsession is at peak, she described the wallpaper to be “hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing” (15). Such statement might describe men as “hideous” because of the restrictions they made for women. The ‘ugliness’ portrayed by the wallpaper mirrors what the author sees in her society: the distorted and often absolute roles that women must portray because of social expectations. In the middle to the last part of the story, the narrator hallucinates about a “faint figure behind that seems to shake the pattern” as if “[it] wants to get out” (14). In this part, the theme becomes more apparent, as it implies about the women to be prisoners of their own household. As the “faint figure” disturbs the narrator’s mind, the more she feels that she has to help her get out of that wallpaper. This empathy would suggest that the author herself experienced the same kind of imprisonment, and having known the difficulty of being oppressed, she wanted to set that woman in the wallpaper free. In the end however, the narrator concludes that she is one of them, that she is one of the women locked in that wall. The narrator declared that “[she] get[s] out at last” and “[they] can’t put her back” because she peeled off all of the wallpaper (26). The Narrator’s Insanity as an Effect of Suppression By the birth of her only daughter Katherine, Gilman suffered from post-partum depression where women tend to be hysterical and nervous. The narrator of the story shows the same symptoms as she “gets so nervous” when she is close to her baby (6). As a treatment, the narrator’s husband, John, and her brother, as they are both doctors of high acclaim, advised her to refrain from any kind of work. Ironically however, John sees nothing wrong with her wife, yet he ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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