Women's Role in 1800s

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A woman’s role in the 18th century included submission to men and total obedience to her husband; playing on the fallacy that women were thought of to be asexual. Not only did this undermine their physical desires, but this destroyed all opportunity of having any type of independence, which muted their voice of authority, leaving little hope of gaining recognition in society. The oppression women faced during these times, becomes apparent in Charlotte Gilman’s The Yellow Wall-Paper. In a society ruled by men, which was so caught up in what a woman should or should not do, or how a woman should or should not act, gave women no voice of reason or sanity. John’s unnamed wife struggles throughout the story to convince her husband that something is not right with her, but gets passed off merely as if she were only crazy. Her husband also takes away the only thing that makes her happy, which is her writing. She is forced to do it privately and, these mental constraints placed upon her, are what ultimately drive her insane. The wall-paper also plays a significant role in her breakdown. As she stares at the wall, she realizes that underneath the pattern of the wall-paper, which resembles a cage, lays a woman who is desperately trying to escape. Like the woman in the pattern, she too is forced to hide her anxieties and fears in order to pretend as if she is happy with her marriage and to make it seem as though she is winning the fight against her depression (http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/yellowwallpaper). In The Awakening, Edna Pontellier, like the narrator in The Yellow-Wallpaper, struggles with the constraints placed upon her by society and her family. The sole purpose of a woman was to reproduce and take care of their children and husbands, as portrayed by Adèle Ratignolle. Women of this time were not supposed feel sexual desires, but not only does she feel them, she acts on them. Another constraint placed upon women during this time is the fact that they were...
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