Since the beginning of civilization, women have been put down to feel inferior to males. Males are supposed to be dominating, strong, and always right. They are supposed to be the one to go out, work, and provide for his woman and family. Women are supposed to be soft spoken, sweet, and caring. They are supposed to be housewives who clean and tend to the children. Women have fought to get their rights to be seen as equals, but in marriage, they are not always seen as equals. Husbands treat their wives inferiorly and the wives are forced to accept it. In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, A strong theme women being inferior to their husbands is shown with the relationship between the narrator and John. This is shown by John treating her like a child, not allowing her to write down her feelings, and he refuses to listen to his wife or consider what she says.
John treats his wife like she is inferior to him. He doesn’t give her the respect of being equals in their marriage. He talks down to her and acts like she is merely a child. When the narrator wants to change around the room, her husband convinces her there is no need for it. “Then he took me in his arms and called me a blessed little goose” (Gilman 228). When John reacts this way to the narrator, it shows how he feels she is inferior to him. He doesn’t actually believe what she says is bothering her. He tries to brush it off and comfort her with a nickname. The nickname, “little goose,” shows how he just thinks of her as small and silly. “I meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort - and here I am comparative burden already!” (Gilman 228). When the narrator describes herself as a burden, it shows how she feels helpless. John is making it known to her how her actions are affecting him. She can’t change how she’s acting, and therefore it puts her down more about her condition. Even when the narrator tries to take a stand for herself in the marriage and talk to John as an equal, he treats her like she’s joking around. “’Bless her little heart!’ said he with a big hug, ‘she shall be as sick as she pleases’” (Gilman 232). John refers to his wife as ‘little’ various times throughout the story. He doesn’t see her as a woman, just a little girl. He acts more as she is a responsibility, not somebody he loves and shares his life with. This shows how John thinks he is superior in their marriage. John thinks that him treating her like a baby and giving her these nicknames are helping her, but it is just making her mental state worse. As her mental state gets worse, their marriage gets worse and John becomes a babysitter to his wife. John enjoys dominating his wife and having inequality in their marriage. John is completely okay with this. He strives to be dominating and be the one who takes care of everything. His male dominance comes out in this way and shows how he wants his wife to be the inferior one in their marriage.
John tries to kill his wife’s creative side. He doesn’t want to give her any freedom, even if it’s just through a pen and paper. Writing gives people an escape to help them deal with things they can’t speak about to others. Writing is the main way the narrator escapes the troubles she has to deal with on a daily basis. “There comes John and I must put this way, - he hates to have me write a word” (Gilman 228). She is told by John not to write, and he even has Jeannie, his sister, look over her and make sure she doesn’t write. “There’s sister on the stairs!” (Gilman 230). The narrator not only has to hide her writing from John, but from her other babysitter. The narrator instead decides to secretly write. John believes that her writing is just causing work for her when all he wants her to do is rest. Writing is actually how the narrator deals with her issues, even if it does exhaust her. She does it in a way that is in spite of John because he won’t allow it. The writing especially helps