“The Yellow Wallpaper’ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman gains its most critical attention for symbolism and gender roles merely for woman in the 1900’s. The focus on distractions that becomes obsessions can show how a woman innermost realm of mind, will, and emotion, can be capped down by society ways of gender roles causing detrimental situations even till this day. “The Yellow Wallpaper” presented numerous of examples of gender en-quality, conformity and lack of ownership throughout the passage. Which lead two of the characters in a state of mental illness, which was frowned upon and wasn’t properly treated in the 1900’s.
The story followed a married woman during the 1900’s who mental illness gets the best of her. As much of her days were spent being cared for by her husband it often left her alone in a room where life came from a wallpaper. As the wallpaper starts to take life of its own, you’ll begin to see the woman character has lost its life as if the wallpaper was trading places with her within the story. In her journal, the woman writes: ‘John does not know how much I really suffer. He knows there is no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him.’ It appears it never occurs to her husband john how dehumanizing the situation can be, but only how much the situation can be better if you just let it, morally blaming it on the woman perspective and her view of life. Timely the woman begins to get even more discouraged, by doing anything that is not her husband’s decision first even for the things that she deeply cares about.
The idea of conformity from the woman projects that women aren’t superior to men. Which leads to her consciously blaming herself for not being able to cope to the wallpaper that her husband deemed ok. Also, with presenting solutions to her husband that might could have helped the situation, once reiterated her husband didn’t see them fit. Not being heard and respected demonstrates the struggle for women in the 1900’s .Feelings of being trapped by your love ones confines the women ,even almost like a child .Being secondary to the men of the household was the normality and was seen as natural .By refusing to accept the woman mind as independent and an individual factor her dear husband aggravates the situation more, confiding her to an outbreak and outburst of mental illness.
As the story goes on the women illness takes even more turns rapidly. Becoming a product of her own environment, and no longer being herself mentally. Constant isolation and depression drives her to complete insanity, and eventually into believing she and the so-called wallpaper have now traded places. In her journal the woman writes: “I’ve got out at last, despite you and Jane! And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!’. It would lead you to believe the old imprisoned woman is now on the outside looking in, with complete victory for “The yellow paper”. Yet it wasn’t the woman would now have to creep over her husband who has now seen that the woman has completely gone mad. Woman of ambition in the 1900’s challenges the very core of the story. While woman was seen vulnerable and expressed confidence that contradicts what the norm would be the for female role would put them at risk for mental illness. When actuality the woman perspective was never heard, her thoughts, her ideas were being misconstrued and her intellect would never match the men in society.
The freedom that was given at the end was a fight for all women. Believing that her husband despite trying to believe that the husband had her best interest at hand. The husband was the only one who asked her to remain in the room from her baby and from friends and family. That alone creates ambition for the woman break of freedom. The woman wanted free thoughts, being able to express herself and be creative. In the end both the women and her husband both lose in the end because they are trapped in fixed gender roles. Without limitations to society standards or her husband choking love. Even the woman not gaining freedom in a normal way, it was still enough freedom just for the moment.
In conclusion, ‘The Yellow paper” depicted society norm at a time where it made the woman seem crazy. Her surroundings and struggle for freedom was causing her all these problems after all. As we observe fixed gender roles through the easy, we can clearly be shown the time and era for women. Society oppressive nature crippled mental illness for women causing lack of self-belief, ownership and conformity. Women where underappreciated, not allowed to have voice, isolated and dehumanized. Taking only simple steps of true love from the husband. Perhaps could have saved the woman from mental illness. We must remember mental illness shouldn’t play no roles when it comes to gender, but as you can see you have a long way to go before women of the 1900’s could make situations better for themselves.
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