Male Dominance In The Yellow Wallpaper

912 words - 4 pages


“I suppose John never was nervous in his life. He laughs at me about this wall-paper”(). This quote perfectly sums up the entire story and the period of time it was written in. The author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a female who served as a role model for women. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is her famous masterpiece. To write this short story, she was inspired by her postpartum depression that she had to overcome. The story of The Yellow Wallpaper mirrors the period where men dominated women and truly believed that women were nothing but an emotionally fragile things they could showpiece to the world. The story defines the traditional role of the 1800’s through the perspective of male ...view middle of the document...

Pokharel 2
John’s ridiculous path to her “improvement” (10), by “..denying her work and freedom to explore the world outside of the house is also confirmed by her brother and further explores the oppression of women through male hierarchy”(Miskolze 2). Her helplessness in dealing with male dominance and her “care”(9) becomes truly apparent when she explains of drugging and strict technique of her “slight hysteric tendency”(8). The two male in her life, her brother and her husband, oppress her life. The narrator states, “If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency – what is one to do?”(15). Additional note from the quote, the narrator’s helplessness points out why she is soft to this kind of cruelty that she undergoes in the story. This sort of helplessness used to be the norm in the 18th century.

Women were considered as an emotional servant who were looked at as someone who should strive to dedicate their lives to the welfare of their home and family. The Yellow Wallpaper is a symbolic of The Cult of Domesticity and The Cult of Womanhood. These terms tied women to their home and to the betterment of their family. The Cult of Womanhood also ties a women to a baby. Women in the 1800’s were expected to bear babies and extend the family line of their husband. Many women suffered from Postpartum depression after giving birth. “Dr. Weir Mitchell prescribed many women with the rest cure” (Evans 4).This ordered women to stay home and to no interact...

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