Women and Gender Studies: the Yellow Wallpaper

Topics: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper, Narrative Pages: 3 (1017 words) Published: November 26, 2012
The stories of The Yellow Wallpaper written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and A Room of One’s Own by Virgina Woolf are important to view in their historical contexts. Both novels demonstrate that there are limits placed on women that prevent them from living complete lives. This demeans women and does not give them the same rights and privileges as men. The Yellow Wallpaper demonstrates the attitudes during the nineteenth century that concern female mental and psychical health. Whereas A Room of One’s Own explores whether women are capable of writing great literature and the obstacles that they are faced. Each story demonstrates an common idea that women are viewed as unequal to men and that they must work a lot harder to achieve the respect they wish to gain.

Within each of these two novels the authors place the settings with great relevance to the stories morals. Within The Yellow Wallpaper, the narrator uses the wallpaper to symbolize an interpretation of something that affects her directly. As the story goes on, the wallpaper gains more and more significance. In the beginning it seems unpleasant, as it is ripped and is an “unclean yellow” (pg. 2). The pattern of the wallpaper fascinates the narrator due to its formless pattern, which the narrator tries to figure out how it is organized. She does so for hours and hours until she sees a ghostly pattern which one can only see in certain light. Once this pattern comes into focus she sees a desperate women who is looking for an escape from behind the main pattern, this resembles the bars of a cage. The narrator sees many women behind these bars trying to escape. This wallpaper represents the structure of women lives, their families and tradition. Gilman uses the wallpaper to show the domestic lives of many women who are trapped in their roles. Like wise to A Room of One’s Own, Woolf describes throughout her narrative that every women needs a room of their own, something that women are able to enjoy without any...
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