Gilman and Henrik Ibsen Women Term Paper

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Finding no recourse or way to express her true feelings and thoughts, the Narrator began reflecting on her oppression through the yellow wallpaper patterns on the walls of her room: "The front pattern does move -- and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it! Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast...and in the very shady spots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard" (Roberts and Jacobs, 1998:550). This passage can be interpreted in two ways: seeing the woman within the wallpaper patterns may signify her dissociation from herself psychologically by succumbing to insanity. However, this process may also be construed as her way of breaking out of the prison that is her marriage, the oppression she felt being dominated by John and the limits that marriage had put on her as a woman. Though the Narrator ended up insane, she succeeded in overcoming her oppression; in fact, she gained the power to overcome her husband's control through insanity. Dissociating the married woman and wife that is the Narrator to become the insane individual she has become in "Yellow Wallpaper" was Gilman's radical resolution against male dominance and patriarchy.

Ibsen's play "A Doll's House" offered a similar portrayal of the female protagonist, Nora, with that of Gilman's female Narrator. However, Nora's interaction with her husband and society in general had been more explicit, illustrating how this oppression against her turned Nora into an individual who seemed to have no choice in life and completely dependent on her husband and other people. After years of being financially dependent and subservient to Torvald's demands and needs, Nora finally chose to empower herself through metaphorical dissociation -- that is, detaching her married self from the woman in her and overcoming her oppression by separating from her husband.

In this pivotal moment in the play, Nora asserted to her husband, "...you neither think nor talk like the man I could bind myself to...I was your little skylark, your doll, which you would in future treat with doubly gentle care, because it was so brittle and fragile....I am no wife for you" (1715). This scene marked Nora's empowerment and accomplishment of the process of her dissociation, finally freed from the confines of her marriage and status as a married woman. Thus, like the Narrator in Gilman's story, this radical resolution paved the way for her to finally break Torvald's dominance over her as his wife and as a woman.

Works Cited

Jacobs, H. And E. Roberts. (1998). Literature: an introduction to reading and writing. NJ: Prentice Hall.

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Jacobs, H. And E. Roberts. (1998). Literature: an introduction to reading and writing. NJ: Prentice Hall.

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