The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman Essay, Research Paper
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” explores the restricted societal roles of both Jane and John. Gilman, a strong supporter of women’s rights, focuses on her account with depression through this story (Hill 150). Traditionally, the man must take care of the woman both financially and emotionally while the woman’s role remains at home. Society tends to trap man and woman and prevent them from developing emotionally and intellectually. Although Gilman focuses on the hardships of the woman, she also examines the role of the man in society. Repression generated by social gender roles hinders men and women from acquiring self-individuation.
The repression of Jane ties into her lack of exposure to emotional and intellectual stimulus. Jane’s feminine emotions towards her environment aid in her restraint. Representing the dominance of masculinity over the restrained female, Jane observes the female figure, who looks as if she is behind bars, in the pattern of the wallpaper (1156). The woman who unsuccessfully attempts to climb out of the pattern symbolizes Jane’s frivolity in trying to alter feminine societal roles (1158). Significantly, the maternal instincts of Jane remain enslaved due to her surroundings. The nursery, containing windows “barred for little children,” represents the suppression of Jane’s motherly duties (1150). Jane is unable to take care of her own baby. The garden which Jane can view through her barred windows, stands for her fertility which she is incapable of obtaining (1149). Intentionally, Jane’s intellectual prowess remains held back. Beginning to “write for a while” in a journal against the wishes of those around her, represents the suppression of Jane’s attempt at creative stimulus (1149). The yellow wallpaper hinders Jane’s recovery in that it confuses her whenever she attempts to decipher its’…
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