The Yellow Wallpaper Essay

Topics: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper, Silas Weir Mitchell Pages: 5 (1866 words) Published: April 8, 2013
Expressive Rights
Freedom is a right all people have but women who are imprisoned in a domestic marriage lose that right and are unable to convey themselves the way they should. In the story, The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Gilman a woman and her husband move into a large secluded house. The husband, being an intelligent physician, informs his wife that this would be the best cure for her illness. The wife wanting to please her husband does as he says. She becomes fascinated and oddly obsessed with the wallpaper in the bedroom. This fascination causes her to become even more insane then she was in the beginning. Charlotte Gilman’s story The Yellow Wallpaper and other works express the idea that women forced to remain in a domestic marriage are trapped from expressing themselves.

In The Yellow Wallpaper, Gilman expresses through the husbands demanding nature, the wife’s willingness to listen, how the wife feels at the end of the story, and the placement of women in her opinion that if women are forced to remain in a domestic marriage, they are unable to express themselves. For example, when the wife is explaining her husband’s standpoint on her condition she says, “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? . . .”(287). This shows that the wife feels as if she must listen to her husband because he is a physician and he is her husband even if she does not necessarily believe he is right. This clearly relates to the authors message of the feeling of entrapment by the husband. The wife clearly has no say in her condition or her treatment. In other words she is trapped into believing that because her husband is a workingman, he is always right and she should follow. In addition, the narrator adds, “My brother is also a physician, and also of high standing, and he says the same thing”(287). This adds to the feeling that men are superior to women. This places the wife and sister into the domestic roll of a woman with no say. Once again because the brother is a workingman, he is placed superior to his sister. This causes the narrator to believe that her brother and husband are correct keeping her from believing in her own ideas and thoughts about her illness. This adds to Gilman’s belief that women placed in domestic rolls are unable to express themselves or their ideas clearly because they are trapped. For instance, as the narrator becomes obsessed with the wallpaper she thinks, “Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over”(296). The author is trying to show that many women are trapped behind the wallpaper, just too as the narrator is. In other words she is referring to the wallpaper as the jail many women feel they are in because of domestic marriages and wanting to escape that jail. The jail of a domestic marriage forces women to remain unable to voice their opinions and express their feelings. The use of the women in the wallpaper further proves the authors opinion that men trap many women because of the idea that they are superior and the confinement caused by gender. In addition, the narrator speaks about Jennie saying Jennie, “is a perfect and enthusiastic housekeeper, and hopes for no better profession”(290). This further proves the domestic lifestyle that the narrator is living in. Jennie is the typical roll played by women who do work in a domestic lifestyle. Women are stuck to be viewed as housekeepers and housewives, trapped to not be able to work in any other professions. The author clearly believes and wants it to be apparent to the readers that women are viewed this way and expected to remain this way. Gilman clearly does not agree with this and thinks women should be able to do whatever they please because if they are capable of being perfect...
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