English: Jane Eyre and Yellow Wallpaper

Submitted By sherihanach
Words: 1647
Pages: 7

The figure of the ‘repressed other’ features in many women’s texts of the nineteenth century, often representative of a split identity in the central female protagonist, or a more general suppression of rage against patriarchal society. 3. What are the similarities between the woman behind the wallpaper in Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, and Bertha Rochester in Bronte’s Jane Eyre? Charlotte Perkins Gilman's novel "The Yellow Wallpaper" tells a story about a woman whose husband verifies her with a mental illness, and is locked up in a creepy mansion, where she begins to see odd shapes and strange people behind the “Yellow Wallpaper”, which ultimately leads her to insanity. “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte, is an ornate novel that descriptively tells a life of an orphan who endures many obstacles and sufferings throughout her childhood and falls in love with a prosperous man Mr Rochester, when she becomes a governess in his home. Jane soon finds Mr Rochester’s wife, Bertha, who is similar to “The Yellow wallpaper” is diagnosed with being a mad women, and is locked up in an attic, away from civilization, ultimately leading her to insanity and suicide. Although both novels appear immensely different, there many references to events that draw connections with each other, relationship between both women and men, and how the male domination and superiority to women, which leads to the” repression of the other”, ultimately driving to both Bertha and Jane’s sense of seclusion and loneliness, and the struggle they face in receiving freedom. The “repressed other” refers to the notion of force or blockage and restraining something or someone to go against what it naturally needs to do or feel. In this context, it refers to the suppression and blockage women in the 19th Century experienced, when they “against patriarchal society”. Having said this, in “The Yellow Wallpaper", the main story takes place in a summer home where the narrator lives with her husband in "a colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, a haunted house" (194). The mansion illustrated by the narrator reflects a classic idea of “Gothic genre”, as she explains it being "quite alone, standing well back from the road” and informs the reader that she feels uneasy about the house “There is some­thing strange about the house-I can feel it" (195). Moreover, Thornfield Hall, in Jane Eyre also resinates the Gothic vibe, a haunted creepy place as Jane states, “ I did not like re-entering Thornfield. To pass its threshold was to return to stagnation, to cross the silent hall, to ascend the darksome staircase” (107). Jane explains the mansion as a "gloomy house-[...] the gray hollow filled with rayless cells" (108). The setting and the physical layout and appearance of the mansions that both Bertha and the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” live in, almost indicates that it’s not a normal house, with ‘abnormal’ people living in it. The mansion was usually owned by a man, who paid women to do as instructed. Furthermore, the gigantic mansions embrace a threat and fearful like characteristic, and its isolation symbolisers and reflects the feelings felt by both Bertha and the narrator, Bronte’s mansion is “silent (107), Gilman’s is “quiet alone”. The mansion is more than just a creepy house that the reader is informed of; however it becomes the place that both husbands dominate in and the reasons why the women become segregated and repressed. "Sliping again over [her] faculties the viewless fetters of a uniform and too still existence" (Bronte 107). The characteristics and attributes of the houses, contributes to repression on the women caused by the men , as through isolation of both the physical aspects of the house, and the physical isolation of the women from the world, allows for male domination and contributes to the idea of repression , as the men used physical layout and setting of the mansion to force to