Signs of Societys Sexism in The yellow WallPaper Essay

This essay has a total of 1106 words and 5 pages.

Signs of Societys Sexism in The yellow WallPaper



Signs of society’s sexism in The Yellow Wall-Paper
The Yellow Wallpaper is a story, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Although the work is short,
it is one of the most interesting works in existence. Gilman uses literary techniques
very well. The symbolism of The Yellow Wall-Paper, can be seen and employed after some
thought and make sense immediately. The views and ideals of society are often found in
literary works. Whether the author is trying to show the ills of society of merely
telling a story, culture is woven onto the words.

The relationship between the narrator and her husband would be disagreeable to a modern
woman’s relationship. Today, most women crave equality with their partner. The reader
never learns the name of the narrator, perhaps to give the illusion that she could be any
woman. On the very fist page of The Yellow Wall-Paper, Gilman illustrates the male
dominated society and relationship. It was customary for men to assume that their gender
knew what, when, how, and why to do things. John, the narrator’s husband, is a prominent
doctor and both his and his wife’s words and actions reflect the aforementioned
stereotype: “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage,” (9). This
statement illustrates the blatant sexism of society at the time. John does not believe
that his wife is sick, while she is really suffering from post-partum depression. He
neglects to listen to his wife in regard to her thoughts, feelings, and health through
this thought pattern. According to him, there is not anything wrong with his wife except
for temporary nerve issues, which should not be serious. By closing her off from the rest
of the world, he is taking her away from things that important to her mental state; such
as her ability to read and write, her need for human interaction, her need to make her own
decisions. All of these are important to all people. This idea of forced rest and
relaxation to cure temporary nervous problems was very common at the time. Many doctors
prescribed it for their female patients. The narrators husband, brother, and their
colleagues all feel that this is the correct way to fix her problem, which is practically
nonexistent in their eyes.

Throughout the beginning of the story, the narrator tends to buy into the idea that the
man is always right and makes excuses for her feelings and his actions and words: “It is
so hard to talk to John about my case, because he is so wise and because he loves me so,”
(23). In a good relationship, each partner should be able to express one’s own thoughts
and feelings. Honesty in one of the most important characteristics a relationship should
have. In this case, the narrator feels that she can not tell him how she feels so as not
to upset him and make him mad. When the narrator does attempt to have a discussion with
John, she ends up crying and not being able to express herself. John treats her like a
child as men believed that crying something that women do and is something that shows
weakness. Eventually she begins to become frightened of John and as she goes bad, his
normalcy is seen as queer through in her eyes.

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