The Yellow Wallpaper

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The freedom and independence women have in today’s society did not come casually. It is the result of many feminist intellectuals that advocated reforms in the definition of women’s role in the deformed social structure of nineteenth century America. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman presents to readers the domesticated female oppression in the late nineteenth century that haunted many women. Written in 1892, a cultural context where society dictates that women listen to their husband, Gilman confronts the issue of the legitimate victimization of women in this short story masterpiece. The silent female imprisonment in the domestic sphere is revealed in this story through the mind of Jane, who is recuperating in the nursery room of a mansion for three months, which her physician husband believes is the appropriate treatment. She is restricted to that room and begins to write her thoughts and feelings. The mental pain she undergoes soon takes over her mind and behavior and, ultimately, drives her to insanity. Over the course of the story, Jane, like other women of her time, suffers from her mental illness and the obligated submission to her husband, and through her suffering, Gilman acquaints the audience with the era and Jane’s unfortunate debilitating nervous condition.

Readers are first introduced to Jane’s suffering when she mentions that even her husband did not believe she’s sick, but believes, instead, that its insignificance warrants no serious attention (161). An established and recognized physician, John curbs her creativity and writing, reasoning that it will only worsen her condition. Careful examination reveals that he stifles her creativity and intellect and forces her into the domesticated position of a powerless wife. This is shown by John’s inhibition of Jane from writing and the dismissal of her complains about the house, resulting in Jane being angry with him (162). However, she writes that she takes “pains to control herself...
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