For quite a long time before the past century, the female gender had been a race characterized by limited opportunity and the widespread belief of inferiority to the male gender. It was not until the women’s rights movement took off in the 1920’s that women began to enjoy having the same opportunities as men and playing an active role in society. Before that time, women were perceived as being inferior to their male counterparts and received less respect than men. This resulted in devastating effects on the female psyche, including debasement of character and even catastrophic mental illness. Countless tails of woe written by the women of that terribly oppressed time period convey the isolation, humiliation, and agony experienced by the females of that time. The short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, serves as an excellent example of such a piece of literature. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” illustrates subordinate standing of the female role in the 19th century and how such social conditions can have a devastating effects impact on the human mind. (Wilson)
“The Yellow Wallpaper” excellently portrays the subordinate standing of women in marriage in the 19th century. (Ardoin) When the protagonist begins to deteriorate mentally after giving birth to her child, her physician husband orders her to rest in bed and refrain from writing. The protagonist describes her husband John’s antidote for her ailing health: “I take phosphates or phosphites — whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to "work" until I am well again. Personally, I disagree with their ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good. But what is one to do? I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal--having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition. I sometimes fancy that in
Cited: • Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” (Original Work). 1892 • Wilson, Kathleen. "The Yellow Wallpaper." Short Stories for Students. Pages 277-283. 1997. • Korb, Rena. "Criticism on ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’" Short Stories for Students. Pages 284-287. 1997. • Ardoin, Adrien. “SparkNote on ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’” Online. 26 May. 2008 <http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/yellowwallpaper>.