Gender Role Effects in "The Yellow Wallpaper"

Words: 1587
Pages: 7

Holly Fant
Professor McClearen
English 1102
24 April 2012

Gender Role Effects in “The Yellow Wallpaper” Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a feminist writer who wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” in the 1890’s. During this time period the woman were expected to keep the house clean, care for their children, and listen to their husbands. The men were expected to work a job and be the head of a household. The story narrates a woman’s severe depression which she thinks is linked to the yellow wallpaper. Charlotte Gilman experienced depression in her life and it inspired her to write “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The short story is based on a woman, not given a name in the text, who is very dependent on her husband. The narrator plays a gender role
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They are always telling her nothing is wrong and ignore any thoughts she may have. Maybe she is tired of getting stripped down in a negative way from them such as; being ignored, treated like a child, and being locked up in the bedroom. She states, “The paper is dull enough to confuse the eye” (678). This description could imply that no one sees the paper the way she does. John might not see the crawling women because he does not have to stare at it all day every day. The description shows the emotions and describes the way the wife really feels about her condition. She uses language such as constantly irritates and provokes study, the uncertain curves commit suicide, it plunges off at outrageous angles, and destroys themselves in unheard- of contradictions suggests that she has dark thoughts of suicide or death (678). The wife’s description of the wallpaper and room which it is in makes it seem like she lives the life of a prisoner unable to escape the yellow wallpaper. The criticism of Wang states, “The narrator lives a life like a prisoner who is being gazed and observed all the time” (53). The observers of the narrator are her husband and her nurse. This quote implies that she is literally locked up all day in one room suffering from more depression as the days move forward. Another way John puts his wife down as a female is calling her names and acting like she is a baby. John states, “What is it, little girl?” (682). It is