A Woman’s Identity
The Yellow Wallpaper, written in 1892, a woman’s identity is described by the author Charlotte Perkins Gilman consistent with society of the times. It is in direct contrast to Homage to my Hips which was written almost 100 years later by Lucille Clifton, in which writing styles and the identity of women were much stronger.
In 1892 when The Yellow Wallpaper was written, women did not have much say in anything they wanted to do. Women were inferior to men as well as dependent on them, they had little impact on society other than taking care of men and raising a family, and they were portrayed as not having the knowledge or ability to make decisions on their own. Gilman writes, “It is so hard for me to talk about my case with John because he is so wise” (478)as well as “here comes John and I must put this journal away, he hates me to write a word”(474), which shows that women are inferior to men and look upon him as the better and smarter individual. The quote “I meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort, and here I am a comparative burden already” (476) states that she has little impact on society and that when she isn’t able to help John she is a “burden” to him. Gilman writes, “Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change would do me good, but what is one to do?”(470). This statement “what is one to do?” shows her lack of self confidence as well as her weakness in making decisions on her own and listening to men without questioning them even if she doesn’t like the idea.
Written almost one hundred years after The Yellow Wallpaper, Homage to my Hips by Lucille Clifton a sense of a woman’s identity is demonstrated as much stronger than it once was. In the poem, Lucille Clifton shows all the strengths and freedoms woman possess through her hips. Although she describes them as being “her hips”, she is speaking on behalf of all females. The opening line of the poem Clifton writes: “these...
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