Marley 1 Micaiah Marley Ms. Fisher Honors College Composition 25 January 2018 Feminist Rights: “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “An Obstacle” In Charlotte Perkins Gilman short texts “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “An Obstacle”, there is prejudice against women. Throughout these stories, two women are struggling to get past the men who are being prejudice against them, and both of the women are carrying a heavy load that they are forced to face. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the speaker has partum-depression following the birth of her child. Her husband John, who is her physician, belittles her illness and treats her almost as if she is a child. John gives her no treatment as he believes it will not help her so he does not let her work or write. As time goes by, the narrator gains interest in the wallpaper, and she the becomes possessive and secretive, hiding the fact she has deep feelings about it. The yellow wallpaper resembles a jail-cell and that is why the narrator feels connected to it because she feels trapped. In the other story “An Obstacle”, the speaker of the poem climbs a mountain to reach her destination in which she gets stopped by a man that does not want her to pass.
Both of these short stories share the same message: Men believe that women are weak but they can succeed just as much as men can. As the stories begin to climax, the narrators end up standing up to the prejudice men. While men seem to get in the way of women’s rights, the main characters have to overcome their fears and struggles to meet their end goal. In the beginning,men who were prejudice stood in the way of women being able to move forward and achieve their goals. As the speaker starts walking through the memories of her past Marley 2 she states, “I was climbing up a mountain-path; With many things to do, Important business of my own, And other people’s too, When I ran against a Prejudice; That quite cut off the view”. Since the man sees her as a women, he blocks her from moving forward because he does not want her more successful than him.
Climbing the mountain-path resembles the speakers success, and the man does not want the woman to have anymore power than she already does. The woman explains how her husband is strong part of her post-depression to which she announces, “John is a physician. John wants her to stay depressed because, if she stays in that state of mind she remains weak and follows his commands. The men treat women as they are children and cannot get things done unless they are helped. Since women of Gilman’s time were seen as weak, men would over/power them and get in their way. Society believed that women are supposed to stay housewives and not be able to go out and achieve their goals. Men are not letting women work and allowing them to be successful because women are seen as weak. In “An Obstacle”, this women gets belittled by her prejudice thoughts she explains, “My work was such as could not wait, My path quite clearly showed, My strength and time were limited, I carried quite a load”. She had carried all the stress she had in life and felt like it was something she could not ignore. Her husband’s refuses to let her work and this is expressed in lines twelve through fourteen when she says, “So 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”. She disagrees with her husband when Marley 3 he believes that she should not do anything and should be solely dependent on him. Here, women did want to go and work big jobs but men were against the idea of letting them work since they were seen as “weak”. The man who did not want the speaker to pass was being prejudice over the fact that seeing a women being more successful than him could not work.
Also in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, John the speakers husband, told her she could not work due to her partum-depression. She felt that if she works she would feel better but John disagreed making her feel more closed out in the real world. The speaker is forced to face a man that is prejudice when it becomes unavoidable. The women tries to plead with the man to move ” So I spoke to him politely, For he was huge and high, And begged that he would move a bit; And let me travel by”. Even as she asked him to move politely, he still was not willing to move for her. The women want to go see her family members, but John is against it ” Dear John! He loves me very dearly, and hates to have me sick. I tried to have a real earnest reasonable talk with him the other day, and tell him how I wish he would let me go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia”. He restricted her from being able to see her family and even her friends, no matter how hard she had cried and begged.The speaker tried so many times to talk things out nicely with the men but they ignore them. The women are getting slowly fed up in how they are being treated and how the men are not letting them move forward, so they finally take things up in there own hands. Finally the woman are able to surpass the the prejudice man. The women had an idea and she finally decided to move past him, “I approached that awful incubus with an absent minded air- And I walked directly through him as if he wasn’t there!”. As she begged and pleaded to get pass him, she finally moves by him without his notice and becomes more successful than Marley 4 she was.
The women finally had enough so she decided to pull off the wallpaper herself, “I’ve got out at last”. Said I, “in spite of you and Jane. And pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!”. She was finally able to pull back all the yellow wallpaper showing that she can do what she wants to do without John’s permission. The yellow wallpaper symbolizes the pattern of oppression that women in that society followed. Like the pattern, its continuous, it makes hardly no sense. The continuity of the all of this follows the set pattern of sexism. Finally, the speaker had enough of how they were getting treated so they decided to push past the prejudice men on their own making them more happier in the end. While men seems to get in the way of women’s rights, the main characters have to overcome their fears and struggles to meet their end goal. Ultimately, Gilmen’s symbols to show how women are not weak but can do anything a man can do. While the men could easily have been a negative symbol, it is overpowerment that allows the narrators to achieve their end goals. Throughout the short stories, the immerse strong will within the narrators and the symbols provide a feminist outlook for women to be more empowered.
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