Middle Class Women in 19th Century American Society

Topics: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper, Silas Weir Mitchell Pages: 4 (1229 words) Published: January 22, 2013


Section: Cassia

Women were always faced specifically in history by men until they became equal to them. In the story “The yellow wallpaper” the author Charlotte Perkins Gilman says some things about the way women were treated by men back then in the 19th century. Women’s roles and place in the 19th century American society are very humiliating, rational for this society and weird. Women back then were treated as “something” not as “someone” that is to say useless beings, that do not have brains.

The yellow wallpaper symbolizes something that impacts her instantly. Through the yellow wallpaper we can see that the woman is soiled and ripped just like the dirty yellow wallpaper “It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw – not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things” (Charlotte Perkins Gilman, part 6, page 11). Moreover Gilman uses the woman who is affected by the yellow wallpaper to show that women in that time were trapped an inner world, which was the main reason for their insanity “I didn’t realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but I now I am quite sure it is a woman.” (Charlotte Perkins Gilman, part 6, page 10). The yellow wallpaper also shows that were oppressed by their husband so much that in order to escape from this reality, they devised situations and things that later would make them worse “At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candle light, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be” (ibid).

There are three themes in the story “The yellow wallpaper”. The first theme is the subordination of women in marriage. From this theme the...
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