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Yellow Wallpaper is a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman first published in 1892. The story touches upon themes of patriarchy, misogyny, identity, disenfranchisement, and mental illness. Told from the perspective of a first-person narrator, the reader gets a glimpse into the effect of patriarchy on individual women and on women collectively. The story begins when the narrator and her husband John spend the summer in a holiday house. The narrator admits that she has "temporary nervous depression," but that her husband, even though he is a physician, does not recognize that she is sick. Instead, he believes that his wife should simply refrain from all work, including writing, and be house bound. When she protests, "John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage." Thus, Gilman makes a poignant statement about the nature of heterosexual marriage within the first few sentences of the short story. The…… [Read More]
Breaking Free: The Ironic Liberation of "Yellow allpaper"
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow allpaper" is a quintessential feminist story, even though it can be interpreted on many levels within that rubric. The narrator is married and has a child; she is thus engaged in some of the strongest trappings of a patriarchal society. However, she is removed both physically and spiritually from her stereotyped role as wife and mother. The narrator's removal from her role is, however, imposed upon her, or forced upon her by her seemingly well-intentioned but condescending husband. Therefore, the narrator calls into question her own dreams and desires. The reader is asked to investigate what a woman's dreams and desires would be independent of social norms or expectations. Although the narrator does break free from patriarchy at the end of the story, she does so symbolically and tragically: which suggests that there are few…… [Read More]
Yellow Wallpaper portrays that the protagonist in the story, Jane is mentally disturbed. Due to various factors and social pressures, Jane is affected with a mental condition that causes her to lose her mind and be out of touch with reality. The diagnoses that can be made about Jane from The Yellow Wallpaper are of Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type and Bipolar Disorder Type I.
Schizophrenia- Paranoid Type
As defined in the DSM-IV (APA, 2000), the Paranoid Type schizophrenia consists majorly of delusions and hallucinations. Other symptoms suggestive of Paranoid Type schizophrenia are disorganized speech, behavior and inappropriate effects. (APA, 2000) As the name suggest, this form of schizophrenia is linked to excess feel of anxiety and confusion. The patient feels as if everything and everyone is going against them and wants to harm them in one way or another. Just as is characteristic of any schizophrenic patient, Jane has an amalgamation…… [Read More]
As the narrator is denied access to the world and the normal expression of her individuality, so she becomes a true prisoner of the room with the yellow wallpaper. Her life and consciousness becomes more restricted until the wallpaper becomes an animated world to her. There is also the implied suggestion in this process of a conflict between the rational and logical world, determined and controlled by male consciousness, and the more imaginative female consciousness and sensibility.
On a psychological level the structure of the rational male world interweaves with the mental domination of the women. The women states that she is sick and her husband, who is a physician, declares that there is essentially nothing wrong with her. This contradiction between what she feels and his views leaves her in a confused state.
A as she puts it, "If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures…… [Read More]
I fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so still... It keep me quiet by the hour" (Hunt, 179). ith this, it is clear that Gilman sees herself as trapped in a very disruptive and confined world, one which ultimately drives her insane; also, this mysterious woman is a symbol of her physical self caught within a maze of confusion and despair, all because of the "yellow wallpaper" that clings to the walls of the nursery like some kind of dreadful disease.
Finally, the narrator, driven mad by the wallpaper in the nursery, peels all of it away and says to her husband, "I've got out at last... And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!"which results in her husband fainting at her feet, "right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time" (Hunt, 183).…… [Read More]
Yet, in this case, the freedom that the author is talking about is not necessarily the liberation of women from the oppressive male society, but the freedom of each individual with mental problems to having a socially integrated life, with little or no confinement that would also make the mental problems develop.
In conclusion, although it may seem that "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a short story written with a feminist purpose, a more precise understanding of the situation is that this was written with medical purposes in mind, as the author so argues later on. Understanding this is important because it offers an insight not only in the real topic, but also offer a good understanding into the feminist approach to text. Even if it is not such a type of text, this form of analysis offers new insights in the social and individual fight for emancipation that women took…… [Read More]
As the text by Davison (2004) contributes, "given that the narrator in Gilman's tale is a femme couverte who has no legal power over her own person -- like her flesh-and-blood counterparts at the time the story was published -- and that her husband is a physician whose pronouncements about his wife's illness are condoned by a spectral yet powerful medical establishment, it is no wonder that his wife grows increasingly fearful of him and suspects him of conspiring with his sister against her." (Davison, 48)
This helps to drive what the research discussed here will promote as a distinct literary tradition to be known as Female Gothic, so-named for the shared condition of American women during the time of Gilman's writing, who lived in obscurity in spite of the instincts and inspirations driving them to desire more. In the narrator of this story, these instincts become a cross to…… [Read More]
What I have told you are just my feelings and opinion, John. Though I am do not know exactly what is ailing your wife, I do know -- as a woman's intuition would know -- that your wife is not happy being alone in that room everyday, treated like a patient with a horrifying, yet undetermined, 'disease.' I can feel the hurt in her as she only see glimpses of her children every day, and nothing of the life that we experience everyday. I beg you, dear brother, to consider changing the form of treatment you have been giving her. I believe that allowing her to live the life she used to live will restore the energy and happiness that she had before this unfortunate, undetermined illness has taken over her. Dear brother, I will wait for your response to my letter, and I hope that your love for your…… [Read More]
Her account of his complete discounting of her expressed needs, (which he dismisses without a second thought), as well as her description of his attitude toward her engaging in any sort of productive work or mentally stimulating activity or social relationships of any kind also suggest that the protagonist is, on some level if not consciously, aware that her physician husband's wisdom may be lacking with respect to what is the right and most beneficial course of treatment for her depression.
To be fair, physicians of the 19th century were trained to ignore many of the symptoms that modern medicine now associates with diseases of the mind, particularly in the case of women. In all likelihood, had a male patient presented with identical symptoms, the same physician would have recognized the value of productive work, intellectual stimulation, and fulfilling social relationships in depression. Ultimately,
Gilman's romantic fictional narrative incorporates dark…… [Read More]
The constant suppression of her husband to let her roam around the house, and his insistence to rest and sleep all day, became the catalyst for her to have delusions about the intricate patterns on the yellow wallpaper. Her daily 'imprisonment' inside the bedroom, and constant deliberation of where the pattern leads to and what the pattern is, revealed to the woman an important discovery: the pattern in the yellow wallpaper "... is like a woman stooping down and creeping about... By moonlight, it becomes bars!... [b]y daylight she is subdued, quiet. I fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so still." This summarized and showed best the woman's own feelings about her constant 'imprisonment' by her husband, and in general, by the society. The woman became aware that the pattern is a 'woman' like her. In fact, the wallpaper served as her reflection of everything that was happening…… [Read More]
Yellow allpaper" and Mental Illness in omen
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow allpaper" is an important short story that delves into the issue of mental illness. It illustrates how women and their problems are trivialized, with this closely related to the role that women have in society. Through the story, it is seen that women become prisoners of their mental illness because the medical community will not help them. This leaves women to manage their own problems, an action that lead to madness. By telling this story, Gilman is urging the medical community to take a new view on mental illness, to take women seriously, and to find a genuine way to help women before the condition worsens. This makes the short story an extended metaphor for medical discourse on women and mental illness, that shows both the problems that exist and calls for a solution to those problems.
In…… [Read More]
Similarities in Theme in the Two Stories
Prisoners: Both of these stories place the characters in a kind of prison. On the first page of Yellow allpaper the narrator has already explained that the reason she doesn't get well is because of her husband. An irony of huge magnitude, to say that one's husband is a physician and that "perhaps" that is the reason "I do not get well faster" (3). But then, she adds, this is "a dead paper and a great relief to my mind." How can a doctor (whether one's husband or not) possible cure a patient if the doctor doesn't believe the patient is ill? She is imprisoned by the wrongful prognosis of her husband. And she cannot be bailed out from this veritable jail cell she is in because she has "schedule prescription for each hour in the day." This imprisonment does not suit her,…… [Read More]
How the antagonist in "The Yellow allpaper" by Charlotte Perkins contributes to the story's overall meaning.
The physician's wife is the main character and has just given birth. She suffers from postpartum depression, but the husband tries his best to treat her. Her husband prescribes a pattern of treatment that requires her to be locked in a bedroom with a yellow paper that is lurid. The main character is a writer who has been forbidden to write; however, she writes when no one is around her. Beautiful grounds surround the estate, but she is motivated to stay indoors and not to give into fancies. She has chosen a bedroom that is darks and decrepit. The floor has scratches and the walls have holes and dents. In addition, the bed has been permanently nailed on the floor.
Some sections of the floor have yellow wallpaper patches that the woman…… [Read More]
Yellow Wallpaper" a feminist text. What work women American culture turn century? How wife defeat patriarchal culture represented attitude husband?
Consider "The Yellow Wallpaper" as a feminist text. What does the work say about women and American culture at the turn of the century? How does the wife defeat the patriarchal culture represented in the attitude of her husband?
The story of "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a story of a 'cure' that kills. In the story, the unnamed narrator is forced to undergo a 'rest cure' in which she is denied all stimulation. Bored and unable to read or expend her intellectual or emotional energy, she slowly goes mad, eventually coming to imagine that there is a trapped, suffering woman behind the yellow wallpaper of her rented bedroom. The trapped woman is imaginary and is rather a fiction produced of the narrator's diseased brain. The imaginary woman is a metaphorical…… [Read More]
The society of the time didn't support women's intellectual activities and hence doctors denied their mentally ill patients the right to enjoy something other than domestic chores. This only compounded the problem and hence Gilman decided to speak against such medical approaches. "Charlotte Perkins Gilman placed the rest cure in the cultural context of late nineteenth century. The story was a metaphor for the lives of middle-class women trapped in other people's expectations;…" (Patarca-Montero, p. 4)
Gilman readily spoke against isolation and its decaying effect on human mind and in a way that is exactly what Jack London says in his story, "To build a fire." In this story, a man decides to travel alone in sub-zero temperature to meet his friends after ignoring the advice that it was not safe to travel alone. The word "alone" is important here because it somehow seems that the protagonist believed that he…… [Read More]
Yellow Wallpaper," American culture at the turn of the century,
Consider "The Yellow Wallpaper" as a feminist text. What does the work say about women and American culture at the turn of the century? How does the wife defeat the patriarchal culture represented in the attitude of her husband?
At the beginning of Charlotte Perkin Gilman's short story "The Yellow Wallpaper," a new mother, evidently suffering from postnatal depression, is placed on an enforced 'rest cure' in which she is supposed to have no stimulation of any kind. During the 19th century, intellectual activity was thought to be dangerous for women, particularly in regards to their reproductive capacities. The woman is driven mad by her 'cure' and her lack of an outlet for her creative energies.
The 19th century created an ideal image of middle-class femininity, often called the 'Angel in the House.' This was an image of a woman…… [Read More]
The year is 1888, the place is America, the scenes include a country home in rural Massachusetts (where the woman of the house is Dorothy Pilman), a newsroom with typewriters clicking and clacking constantly, and a doctor's office in New York. The reporter is given access to the Pilman family and is invited to conduct interviews.
A Reporter's Narrative
Today, a typical day in the 19th century, American women are looked at as the weaker sex, and doctors are performing some controversial procedures in attempts to "cure" women of their maladies. The woman of today struggles with any illness because the "…male dominated medical establishment attempts to silence women" because males understand women's health problems better than women understand themselves (Cutter, 2001). After all, what do women know about their own bodies and their minds in the late 19th century? Experts like doctors see women as "silent, powerless,…… [Read More]
Infantilizing and Dehumanizing omen in the Victorian Era
In 1892, Charlotte Perkins Gilman published "The Yellow allpaper," a tragic short story told from the first person point-of-view tracing a woman's descent into mental illness. The narrator remains unnamed, highlighting the problem of lack of identity and lack of respect for women in Victorian society, the primary theme of the story. The title refers to the wallpaper adorning a room that becomes a prison cell, in which the narrator remains trapped. The room symbolizes the trappings of patriarchy, as the narrator's husband will not allow his wife access to the outside world. The husband likewise disallows access to creative outlets, and because of this, the narrator quickly goes insane. Yet rather than realize his complicity in her insanity or the insanity of his own actions, the husband remains convinced that what he does is in the best interest of his wife.…… [Read More]
Alienation of omen in "The Yellow allpaper" and "A Doll's House"
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story "The Yellow allpaper" and Henrik Ibsen's play "A Doll's House" share similar themes of women being alienated from the community and offer similar solutions to this problem. Nora and the narrator of the yellow wallpaper are both alienated because of the limited role that society places them in. This limited role based on their place as women in society alienates them from the community by making them inferior. This does not only refer to how others perceive them, but how they come to perceive themselves. It essentially becomes an accepted view where the two women both accept being powerless and allow themselves to be dominated. Both Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Henrik Ibsen show through their works that the solution to this problem is for women to recognize their limited roles and fight to break…… [Read More]
Yellow Wallpaper": Sources of Narrator's Insanity
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short story about the sad descent into insanity of a woman that was first published in 1892. This essay speculates on the sources of the narrator's insanity.
The main source of the narrator's insanity is the restrictions imposed on women in a male-dominated society. This social condition of women was more pronounced in the late nineteenth century when the story was written and first published. In the story the narrator's life is so overwhelmingly dominated by male figures (her brother, and later her husband) that she is unable to make her own choices about her life and is kept imprisoned physically as well as mentally. In The Yellow Wallpaper the narrator's husband is always deciding what is supposedly good for her, and she has reached a stage where she has lost confidence in her own…… [Read More]
Long before the term postpartum depression became part of the vernacular, Charlotte Perkins Gilman deftly and sensitively describes the complex condition in her short story “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The story describes the prevailing attitudes towards women and their narrowly defined roles in society. White, upper middle class women like the narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper” could not easily express discontent with their position as wife and mother. The narrator’s husband—a physician—believes there is “nothing the matter” with his wife except “temporary nervous depression” and “a slight hysterical tendency,” (Gilman 648). Noting her brother is also a physician, the narrator exclaims, “But what is one to do,” when one is just a woman, and therefore a subordinate whose total financial and social dependency on their male counterparts precludes their self-determination (Gilman 649). To address her “hysteria,” the narrator’s husband and brother confine her to a pleasant enough country home, but restrict…… [Read More]
Medical Misunderstandings and Gender:
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a brief psychological study of a woman slowly going mad over the course of an imposed rest cure, prescribed by her physician-husband. The story illustrates the extent to which limited knowledge of the female psyche and a refusal to treat women as intelligent, independent beings ironically produces the types of behaviors the psychological treatment of the era was supposed to prevent. Both women and men are guilty of limiting women’s voices when women attempt to escape the conventional confines of motherhood and domesticity. Although the main character’s love of reading and writing is a constant and sustaining force in her life, she is denied it when it is assumed her illness is due to her refusal to conform to conventional roles.
As noted by history professor Hilary Marland, “The Yellow Wallpaper”…… [Read More]
Depression or Oppression: The Yellow Wallpaper
\\"The Yellow Wallpaper\\" is an amazing piece about Charlotte’s descent into mental impairment. Presented in diary form, the text recounts the experiences of Charlotte who is diagnosed with a nervous condition (i.e. hysteria) and is advised by her physician husband that she ought to be exposed to minimal mental stimulation in her path to recovery. Towards this end, she is essentially barricaded in her bedroom – a room wrapped in yellow wallpaper. While Charlotte is at first diagnosed with depression and supposedly put on treatment for the same, what informs her descent into further mental impairment is oppression, as opposed to depression.
It is important to note that human beings happen to be social creatures. What this means is that they thrive on constant interactions with each other. Charlotte is isolated and the only persons she has access to are the nurse and her…… [Read More]
All of this shows how society looked at women at the time. They were "fragile" and emotionally irrational. They had no power or choice in a relationship, and they were seen as weak and unable to deal with the real world. This narrator may have mental problems, but it seems they came from the way she was treated by her husband and society. It was as if women did not exist. They could not work, many did not even care for their own children, and they had little to live for or strive for. Gilman wrote this story to raise the moral consciousness of readers, and to show the plight of women in Victorian times. The reader has to feel sorry for this narrator - not because she goes mad, but because she was driven to madness by the social and moral beliefs at the time. There is little social…… [Read More]
He is older, because he aches and can still feel the rung of the ladder in his foot, and the author gets all this across with the voice of the narrator in the poem.
Let America be America Again" angry, hopeful, forceful, strong, determined. The structure of this poem leads to the dramatic conclusion, and helps the reader see that this narrator is frustrated and angry over the "freedom" he has not seen in America, and how unfair life in America can be. The author uses different stanzas and varies the sizes of the stanzas to show power in the narrator's words, and how America can hope to be better someday, but it will take work. This is a strong poem with a structure that adds to its strength. The varied stanzas and rhymes make the poem just a little off center, just as the narrator's theme of lack of…… [Read More]
The author of this report has been asked to review and write a reaction to the short story that has come to be known as The Yellow Wallpaper. The work is a short story that is about six thousand words in length. As with many short stories of this nature, the root goal and perspective that one can glean from the story really depends on how one chooses to look at it. One can take it literally word for word while others could see flavors of feminism and the like. The author of this paper will specifically look at the reliability of the narrator. Specifically, it will be assessed how reliable the narrator is. While the short story is ostensibly a first-hand account of the story to be told and thus should be reliable, there are obviously some feelings and perceptions that are colored by emotions and other…… [Read More]
Yellow allpaper and Paul's Case: Emancipation of Mental Captivity
The two texts, Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow allpaper and illa Cather's Paul's Case, portray the main characters with hysteria. Both cases are reactions to the pressures put on them by their families as well as the society. They seem to build mental barriers that cannot be brought down, so called safe heavens, escape from harsh realities and this puts them on a self-destruction course. The narrator in The Yellow allpaper is the main character, an upper middle class woman confined to domesticity and "women's role. The text reveals her inner struggles and from her eye, the reader is able to see her plight. Similarly in Paul's Case, the main character has personal issues that are products of the society he lives in. He is motherless, thin pale and dreamy adolescent who rebels from his conventional surroundings in Pittsburgh. The major…… [Read More]
John is completely blind to his wife's needs. In fact, he is being completely selfish in this situation because he is placing himself over his wife's needs. This fact, on top of everything else, allows us to see how easily oppression could transform into anger.
Oppression, repression, and rage emerge as important aspects of "The Yellow allpaper." The narrator in this story represents countless women who suffered at the hands of uninterested and uneducated doctors. The story follows the course of madness through stages and reveals the delicate workings of the human psyche. Survival is an instinctive characteristic and the narrator does what she can to preserve herself before going over the edge. Gilman demonstrates the yearning for independence in a rather hopeless situation and, as a result, emphasizes the need for understanding before medication. In addition, she also demonstrates how doctors do not always know best. Perhaps one of…… [Read More]
"e're leaving,' he hissed. "I'm taking you straight to the hospital." hen Susan rose shakily to her feet, uncontrollable diarrhea had stained her dress and dripped from the chair. hite with fury, Charles Hay took her by the arm and led her slowly from the hall." (Melville 134)
The work again intones an incredible journey through what a women sees a man thinking. The disconnectedness of Susan from her husband is so complete that her voice is only marginal in the work, but the message is clear in the literary expression of her secreted activities. The masculine is represented as the feminist idea of greater association with industry than home, to the peril of loving relationships. The writing demonstrates a character who is wholly disconnected from ethics in love and life, and in s sense is a demonized masculine archetype.
Among these three works are three completely differing context…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
Yellow Wallpaper,' the nameless narrator is compelled by those that surround her to spend time in a colonial mansion in order to rest and get well. The opposite happens; we see her descend into madness in a way that is vaguely reminiscent of the main character in 'The Shining.' We are given the sense of a controlled environment, in which a narrator is placed by male figures representing authority and familiarity (doctors: her husband and brother) in a situation where she is condemned to stare at a wall. The response of her subconscious is embodied in the changes she perceives in the character of the wall.
She sees a yellow female woman trying to break free of the wall, which we interpret to represent the constrained parameters of her activity. She is a complete subordinate, dominated by men who possess professional accolades. Her attitudes mirror those we see in Ibsen…… [Read More]
omen and Gender Studies
Of all the technologies and cultural phenomena human beings have created, language, and particularly writing, is arguably the most powerful, because it is the means by which all human experience is expressed and ordered. As such, controlling who is allowed to write, and in a modern context, be published, is one of the most effective means of controlling society. This fact was painfully clear to women writers throughout history because women were frequently prohibited from receiving the same education as men, and as the struggle for gender equality began to read a critical mass near the end of the nineteenth century, control over women's access to education and writing became a central theme in a number of authors' works, whether they considered themselves feminists or not. In particular, Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 1892 story The Yellow allpaper features this theme prominently, and Virginia oolf's extended essay A…… [Read More]
You see he does not believe I am sick!" (Gilman).
In fact, there is a question as to whether the narrator drags her husband along with her in her journey into madness. Two feminist writers note, "At the moment when Gilman's narrator completes the identification with her double in the wallpaper, she experiences an epiphany. To John she exclaims, 'I've got out at last... In spite of you and Jane!'" (Delashmit, and Long 33). She has realized her freedom, but at a very heavy cost. Like Nora, she leaves behind a child and a husband in order to live in her private "mad" world. Some critics believe she is the result of a "sick" society that treats women so inhumanely they have few options but to desert their families or go mad (Herndl 114). Obviously, the cost to the women and the family is extremely high, and the obstacles they…… [Read More]
Charlotte Perkins Gilman entitled "The Yellow Wallpaper." The best way to evaluate this essay is by identifying the various thematic elements prevalent in it. These include the waning sanity of the protagonist, the intransigence of her husband, and the subjection of women to the will of men that typified the lives of women at the time that this story was written. Such an evaluation will most likely end in a conclusion that Gilman was subtly protesting the noxious effect that men have on the lives of women, particularly husbands' own wives, as a salient social issue.
There are several passages in this work of literature in which it is clear that the author is suffering from some sort of mental illness -- or, perhaps more accurately, is recovering from one and is attempting to prevent a relapse. Part of her mental illness, the author alludes to, stems from her prowess…… [Read More]
Her physician husband, John, and those like him do "not believe" that she is "sick" or even, in her view, capable of understanding her sickness, so "what," she asks, "can one do?" (Hume).
How can one view this passage without seeing a total lack of communication in a marriage? The narrator even goes so far as to say, "It is so hard to talk to John about my case, because he is so wise, and because he loves me so" (Perkins Gilman). From a purely logical standpoint, John's wisdom and the fact that he loves her so would seem to naturally suggest that he would be the most receptive person to listen to the narrator's discussions, but other things that the narrator says reveal John's patronizing attitude towards her. Instead of caring for her, John absolutely ignores the narrator's suggestions about what she thinks may help heal her. Dismissing her…… [Read More]
"I cry at nothing, and cry most of the time… I lie here on this great immovable bed -- it is nailed down, I believe -- and follow that pattern about by the hour. It is as good as gymnastics, I assure you. I start, we'll say, at the bottom, down in the corner over there where it has not been touched, and I determine for the thousandth time that I will follow that pointless pattern to some sort of a conclusion." She does not think of her child, and only occasionally of her husband. The wallpaper and the imaginary woman command her focus. Forced into a pointless existence, and denied the mobility and the intellectual excitement that make life meaningful, the woman's mind turns to other intellectual and imaginary pursuits, Gilman suggests.
Eventually, rather than describing herself as looking at the pattern of the wallpaper, Gilman's heroine disassociates and…… [Read More]
Discrimination and Madness: Examining Motifs in the Short Stories of Faulkner and Gillman
"The Yellow Wallpaper," by Charlotte Perkins Gillman and "A ose for Emily," by William Faulkner, though remarkably different in style and voice, feature stories where women are the main characters. Both of these stories take the reader through a raucous trip through time and sanity leaving the reader constantly guessing. In the midst of these vivid journeys through the narrative, both short stories showcase their female protagonists in fictional worlds where various pertinent social issues fester in the background.
"The Yellow Wallpaper" tells a story written in the first person of a vivacious, imaginative woman who explains that she suffers from a temporary nervous depression colored by a bit of hysteria. Her husband, a doctor, who the narrator tells us is extremely practical, believes she is not sick and rents a colonial mansion for the summer so…… [Read More]
Gilman was a social activist and herself experienced mental illness. These elements infuse her story "The Yellow Wallpaper" with greater meaning and urgency for Feminism and for plight of females then and now.
Gilman as social activist
Gilman advocates for woman. The woman owned by males and disallowed by husband, male physician, and brother from leaving the room becomes mad.
The woman is imprisoned -- locked in. Males stunt and kill her life. In the end she steps over them; Gilman is telling females to do so too.
Gilman's experience with mental illness and its treatment
Description of Gilman's experience
Elaboration of the haunting description of the wallpaper. Gilman's familiarity with the psychosis
E. Typical 19th century views/treatments of mental illness.
Description of contemporary treatment
b. Treatment of the character. It matched social beliefs and was created by males
How this knowledge enhances our understanding of the story and…… [Read More]
Can't say I disagree with him -- so I guess this yellow wallpaper crazy lady didn't have it so good, for all her money.
Sure, that lady went crazy, even though she was rich and livin' a high life. But heck, I might have gone crazy myself staring at the same wallpaper all day, with nothin' to do and I don't have half a mind to get crazy, people would say -- I think I might have gone crazy just on my own steam of thinkin' about what I could be doin'.
I can't just get my head around this whole other woman thing. First I thought she was like another person, then I realized that she was just a pretend woman in the imagination, behind the wallpaper -- and then, I kinda realized that the woman behind the paper was like Jim.
Let me explain, I'm not sayin' that…… [Read More]
As a housewife confined mostly at home, the woman yearned to develop herself, to function as an able individual not just in her home but in her society as well. Thus, work became a symbolic manifestation of the woman's yearning for freedom: freedom from the oppressive label of being a housewife, and freedom from being limited and dictated what she needs to do and not do.
Human ignorance is highlighted in the story when, as the woman succumbed to the fixating task of "analyzing" and following the patterns of the yellow wallpaper, her husband thought her nervous breakdown has finally escalated into insanity. As the woman begins to consider the pattern a reflection of her own life, her family, particularly her husband John, began considering her condition as one of insanity: "At night...and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars!...I didn't realize for a long time what the thing…… [Read More]
monologue in Gilman's "The Yellow allpaper" and Edgar Allen Poe's "The Cask of Both Charlotte Perkins Filman's "The Yellow allpaper" and Edgar Allen Poe's "The Cask of Amontilado" involve copious amounts of monologue. Each of these tales is narrated by a single person whose viewpoints and opinions are issued directly to the reader, coloring the events of the plot accordingly. However, there are critical distinctions between both of these tales and in both of the monologues the narrator's employ. Gilman's story is narrated by a woman whose mental health slowly, inexorably unravels -- to her detriment, and that of those who purport to care for her. Poe's story is narrated by a man who is bent on exacting revenge upon another. Thus, despite the fact that there are monologues utilized in each short story, the principle difference between them is that the monologue of Gilman's narrator spirals at its conclusion…… [Read More]
Then after Homer disappeared, she gave china painting lessons until a new generation lost interest, and then "The front door closed...remained closed for good" (Faulkner pp). Emily's depression caused her to become a recluse.
All three female protagonists are so dominated by male authority figures that their loneliness leads to severe depression, which in turn leads to madness, then eventually acts of violence. None of the women have active control of their lives, however, each in their own way makes a desperate attempt to take action, to seek a type of redemption for the misery and humiliation they have endured by the male figures in their lives.
Curry, Renee R. "Gender and authorial limitation in Faulkner's 'A Rose for Emily.'" The Mississippi Quarterly. June 22, 1994. Retrieved July 28, 2005 from HighBeam Research Library eb site.
Faulkner, illiam. "A Rose for Emily." Retrieved July 28, 2005 at http://xroads.virginia.edu/~drbr/wf_rose.html…… [Read More]
Madness in Women
In most of the novels and the works in consideration we see the struggle for expression and the quest to overcome masculine oppression (on the part of the author) finds expression as a deteriorating mental state of the character.
Largely guided by their urge to break off from the shackles of the society and the pining for the freedom that has been sadly denied to them, women exhibit a kind of madness in their effort to restore the balance. This is fairly obvious from the many literary works created by women. These works invariably depict the quest for freedom and very often they end up as the lamenting tones of a deranged personality. In most of the novels and the works in consideration we see the struggle for expression and the quest to overcome masculine oppression (on the part of the author) is expressed as a deteriorating…… [Read More]
Perkins gives us the reason one must never go back: sanity. These characters have issues in their lives but they certainly cannot sit still and wait for things to happen around them. The power of femininity did not advance because women remained timid; it gained momentum because women realized they were separate individuals capable of living full lives without the domineering presence of men. At the same time, they understood the importance of relationships and what they bring to life. They know both can exist without one overpowering the other. hile this does not sound like much of a revelation in today's world, it was a remarkable revelation around one hundred years ago when women were expected to be happy being mothers and wives.
Allen, Brooke. "The accomplishment of Edith harton." New Criterion, Sept 2001. Gale
Resource Database. Site Accessed April 13, 2011.
Chopin, Kate. "Regreat." American Literature…… [Read More]
Setting of Two Turn of the Century Feminist Tales
The use of irony in both tales
Women's Role in "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "A Story of an Hour"
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short tale "The Yellow Wallpaper" and Katherine Anne Porter's short story "A Story of an Hour" both depict the constrained lives of middle-class women. The protagonist of "The Yellow Wallpaper" is driven mad when she is refused her books and the healthy aspects of her daily life as a rest cure, after the woman has given birth to her first child. The rest cure merely kindles the illness within her. In "A Story of an Hour," a woman with a bad heart is denied all of the aspects of life that make life worth living, such as travel and adventure, for fear the excitement will cause her to have a heart attack.
Ironically, the woman at the…… [Read More]
Gender oles and Marriage
The Domestic Prison: James Thurber's "Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour"
James Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (1939) and "The Story of an Hour" (1894) by Kate Chopin depict marriage as a prison for both men and women from which the main characters fantasize about escaping. Louise Mallard is similar to the unnamed narrator in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" is that they are literally imprisoned in a domestic world from which there is no escape but death or insanity. As in all of this early feminist fiction, the women characters are defined as 'sick', either physically or mentally, for even imaging a situation on which they might be free, for they are allowed no lives of their own. Louise Mallard was overjoyed when she heard that her husband was killed in an accident,…… [Read More]
Rose for Emily," which was authored by William Faulkner in 1930 and "The Yellow Wallpaper," that was written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1892, both are intimate stories about women living in their particular times in the United States. In addition, both provide true insights into what it was like as a female living during these historic times. However, the styles of the two authors make the stories very different in their approach and effect on the readers.
"A Rose for Emily," told in five separate sections, is rich with the descriptions, plot structures and mood that made Faulkner such a dynamic and memorable writer. After only a few lines into his artistic work, the reader is transposed into that period and place. For example, when reading the second paragraph, one can easily imagine the look and style of the house: "It was a big, squarish frame house that had…… [Read More]
Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane details the life and experiences of Henry Fleming, who encounters great conflict between overcoming his fear of war and death and becoming a glorious fighter for his country in the battlefield. Published in the 19th century, Crane's novel evokes an idealist picture of nationalism, patriotism, and loyalty in America, especially in its war efforts. Fleming's character can be considered as the epitome of an individual who experiences internal conflict between following his heart or mind. Henry's mind tells him that he should give up fighting in the war because it only results to numerous deaths, wherein soldiers fighting for their country end up getting wounded, or worse, killed. However, eventually, as he was overcome with guilt over his cowardice and fear of death and war, Henry followed his mother's advice, following his heart. By being true to himself, he won and survived the…… [Read More]
This is why wars are fought with bloodletting, why torture takes place, and why neither violence nor war is limited to the physical carnage of the battlefield.
The early death of Clifton's mother, as a result of having to powerlessly rely on a liar and a letch who could not provide for his family, is the ultimate example of self-inflicted violence, as is Gillman's character resorting to an expression of madness to resist her powerlessness. It was only slightly more "appropriate" for a women to realize madness as it was for her to throw herself from a three story window.
Clifton, Lucille "forgiving my father" in Schilb, John & Clifford, John. Making Literature Matter 3rd Edition. New York: Bedford, St. Martin's, 2005, 314.
Gelfant, Blanche H., and Lawrence Graver, eds. The Columbia Companion to the Twentieth-Century American Short Story. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.
Gillman,…… [Read More]
Meanwhile, Melmotte introduces Marie into the matrimonial arena at an extravagant ball for which, in hope of favors that will come, he gains the patronage of several duchesses and other regal individuals. Marie, believed to be the heiress of millions, has many highly placed but poor young noblemen asking for her hand in marriage. She falls in love with Sir Felix Carbury, who is the most shady of them all. Felix's interest in Marie has nothing to do with love, but only with her wealth. This behavior is expected, since he is just following through on all that he has been told while growing up. He has learned his lessons well. His mother commends him often for winning Marie's heart, even if it is for the wrong reasons.. As Trollope writes:
It was now his business to marry an heiress. He was well aware that it was so, and was…… [Read More]
In the social environment, mental illness is a serious condition and with an advancement of technology and modern science, the physiological issue surrounding a mental illness is not well understood. The stigma that place on people suffering from mental illness is so much making people pretending that they are not suffering from the problems. Although, many people were not born with a mental problem, however, the societal burden can make people demonstrating signs of mental disorders such as depression and irrational behaviors.
The objective of this paper explores the concept of mental illness illustrated in different literary books.
Literary Issues on Mental Illness
This study investigates the issue of mental illness in the literary books with a focus on "Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar," (Ames 1) and "Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper." (Gilman 1) The study develops personal connection and similarities between the two characters and their…… [Read More]
Psychology of Hysteria During Sigmund Freud's Era
For a man who dedicated his life's work to furthering humanity's understanding of its own psychological processes, the revolutionary pioneer of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud remained woefully misunderstood during his own era, and has so ever since. Although Freud published a voluminous body of innovative research during his professional career as a neuropathic researcher, studying a wide array of cognitive disorders from addiction to aphasia, it is the Austrian's radical reimagining of the human mind's very structure that has made Freud a household name for multiple generations. By conceiving of the mind as being similar to an iceberg floating in the sea -- with only a small portion of the entire entity ever visible -- Freud's conceptualization of the human psyche as a behavioral balancing act between the id, the superego, and the ego, with thought occurring at both the conscious and subconscious levels,…… [Read More]
Old Nurse's Story
Elizabeth Gaskell's "The Old Nurse's Story" uses gothic imagery and Victorian themes to elucidate the role and status of women. Online critics claim the story is filled with themes of "male domination, females' sense of powerlessness due to this dominance, and the ambiguous results of women's struggle against males in the Victorian era," ("The Damning Effects of a Patriarchal Society in "The Old Nurse's Story" and "The Yellow allpaper"). Indeed, these three core elements are absolutely evident in this haunting tale about rediscovering personal identity via encounters with the past. The motif of haunting allows the past to return to the present in eerie ways. Relying on ghosts allows the author to present the suggestion that the past haunts the lives of all individuals, and that women have trouble extricating themselves from negative situations because of the constraints of dead social institutions and norms.
However, Hughes and…… [Read More]
Teenagers in Conflict ith Their Environment
At the time of the stories
Teenagers are often in conflict with their environment. hat some call the "rebellious" years are at times just periods in a person's life where he or she may feel confused, lost, and alone. Three stories by Oates, Boyle, and Gilman highlight the lives of teenagers and their conflicts within their worlds. Each character will show how teenagers may act; the paths they choose along with the reasons.
HERE ARE YOU GOING, HERE HAVE YOU BEEN by Joyce Carol Oates is a novel that describes the life of a teenage girl named Connie. Connie is one of the main characters and the protagonist of the story. Oates paints her as a beautiful and self-absorbed 15-year-old who argues with her mom. Although her mother was once beautiful like Connie, she has aged. Her sister, older and more homely, provides a…… [Read More]
Female Freedom in the 19th Century: Two Short Stories
The short story entitled the “Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman both approach the subject of female sanity and wellness from different angles. Both stories suggest that society and those closest to the woman have really no idea about the inner life of the female, nor what is best for her mental health and overall well being. The incorrect assumptions of those around them are precisely what contribute to the ultimate tragedies and unraveling of mental states present within each story.
Chopin’s famous “Story of an Hour” demonstrates the ill-conceived presumption that so many of the era project on to the heart and mind of a woman. We are told of Mrs. Mallard’s fragility in the opening of the story. As a result of this fragility, “Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a…… [Read More]
He was born a normal, healthy boy and he grew as little boys do, with G.I. Joe dolls and plastic guns.
He seemed so normal through and through.
When he chose books over monkey bars they thought him a little bit queer.
He didn't pay sports like the others;
instead he read all of Shakespeare.
Then they told him men did not write poems, but they loved working with numbers.
So he buried his inclinations and struggled with physics blunders.
The boy became a biologist, successful and smart they all thought.
But in his heart he hated his life and the terrible lies he bought.
Jennie's Side of The Yellow Wallpaper
I feel so sorry for John's wife. Sometimes I just do not know what to think of their situation. On one hand, I understand that she is suffering from something dreadful and John is only trying to help…… [Read More]
Thus, the fact that illa Cather employs flowers in her story does not necessarily suggest that Paul is different, and for symbolic value to emphasize the contrast between difference and similarity in the story. Paul's desire for flowers certainly emphasize his difference as he wears them when it seems less than appropriate, and their presence as a symbol is emphasized by the fact hat they accompany his major steps in the story (going to the suspension hearing, his meetings with Charley, his trip to New York, and his death), as well as the way they are used to contrast similarity or "everyday things" (Cather 19).
In addition to flowers, Paul's interest in dress and his dress itself can easily be seen as a sign of his homosexuality. Like the flowers, however, it can also quite easily be explained as a characteristic and symbol of his difference. In contrast to the…… [Read More]
Gende in Poety / Liteatue Lesson
Rational: This is an intoduction to the gende issues which wee so pevalent in the Victoian ea, and a backdop to show why they still exist today and the ham they can inflict.
Syllabus Outcome: This pat of the lesson helps meet outcome 1, o the ability to intepet meanings and themes within texts. By using abstact thinking pocesses, the students will make connections between the texts pesented and show how they ae, o ae not elated. Accoding to the eseach, "A student esponds to and composes inceasingly sophisticated and sustained texts fo undestanding, intepetation, citical analysis and pleasue" (Boad of Studies fo NSW 2003 p 32).
Syllabus Content: This will help meet outcome 4, whee "a student selects and uses languages foms and featues, and stuctues of texts accoding to diffeent puposes, audiences and contexts, and descibes and explains thei…… [Read More]
The disparity in income of male vs. female heads of household is striking. Analysis of census data revealed that, in 1949, approximately thirty percent of households headed by white males were living in poverty, compared to just under thirteen percent a decade later. For women, more than half lived in poverty in 1949; by 1959, that figure declined to thirty-eight percent. The prosperity of the 1950s was not universally enjoyed. Female heads of household at the end of the decade were not better off than their male counterparts had been ten years earlier.
Financing for decent, inexpensive homes was readily available to servicemen returning from World War II. Coontz (1992) argued that this boom in home ownership led to "increasingly pervasive and sophisticated marketing [that] contributed to socially constructed perceptions of "need" and to unprecedented levels of consumer debt (Edwards, 2001). It was new consumer values that helped propel mothers…… [Read More]
Fiction has the unique attribute of being able to be relatable to a person regardless of its implications to real life. No matter how bizarre a plot or character might be, it is the meaning behind everything that is obvious that makes the interpretation of stories unique and applicable to the human experience. This is greatly demonstrated in a collection of quotations from a variety of stories that all share one commonality: survival. No matter how tough things go, and no matter what life's circumstances can be, survival is the ultimate goal, and these stories all bring together that philosophy in a variety of ways, but all coming up with the same equal concept.
Nothing brings on this notion of survival more than Zora Neale Hurston does in her story "Sweat." Life is all about how hard one works in order to be able to excel and in order to…… [Read More]