The Yellow Wallpaper

Submitted By EmptyMoons
Words: 594
Pages: 3

In the story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman uses feminism to portray a society where males dominate over females. An inequality is shown towards women as they are displayed as weaker individuals in situations in relationships and outside forces. Later on in the story, the male and female roles change as the relationship between the inequalities of the two characters in the story. Gilman’s use of feminism sets the stage of the story as masculinity reigns over femininity in how the plot progresses. Male domination is displayed in the story by how John is this controlling figure in his wife’s life caging her inside this house with a room that has this tainted wallpaper. In their relationship, John dictates over what she is allowed and not allowed to do like taking away her freedom to do certain activities. In one instance, John’s wife had said that “he hates to have me write a word” showing that John takes away her freedom to express herself freely (Gilman 480). Along with her freedom, the narrator is also belittled by her husband as she is replied with responses such as “little girl” or “bless her little heart.” Being belittled by John portrays him not as a spouse, but as someone is taking care of her. With the conditions she lives in, the narrator has become a guinea pig experiment to John as she becomes an experiment of the “rest cure,” which contributes to how the narrator’s mental health starts declining into a psycho-state-of-mind. John authority over his wife’s living conditions makes the narrator suffer inside this caged environment. Near the end of the story, the male and female roles are reversed in the event where John’s wife tears down the wallpaper and locks John out of the house. John, who used to be this protective husband and leader, now becomes a little girl as he goes into a state of shock and collapses right in front of his wife. The narrator also changes her role from being a feminine figure into being a masculine figure as she has taken control of the authority that her husband had on her, making her the bigger person. Both characters go through dynamic changes in the end causing the role of genders to balance out.