Critical Analysis : The Yellow Wallpaper

Decent Essays

Critical Analysis: “The Yellow Wallpaper”
“Not many women got to live out the daydream of women—to have a room, even a section of a room, that only gets messed up when she messes it up herself.” –Maxine Hong Kingston: The Woman Warrior
During the late 19th century women, as history demonstrates, were to remain confined to their societal expectations and roles. Women were thought of as the weaker sex, emotional, and fully dependent on their male counterparts, child-like. She was to be a pious woman, living a life of true domesticity. If a woman was not able to function in her role as a mother and submissive wife, then she was thought of to be simply undergoing hysteria. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, written in 1892, we are introduced to an unnamed woman suffering from this “nervous depression” (1). This woman and her husband John, who is a “physician of high standing” (1), are taking a three-month vacation in an old colonial mansion. It is in this haunted house that the reader is able to see the psychological deterioration of the woman as she lives under a demanding patriarchal society.
In the beginning of the story the reader is introduced to the male dominant dynamics between the woman and her husband John. In fact, the woman is never given a name in the story, unlike John, signifying the denial of her importance. Furthermore, there is an immediate juxtaposition of characteristics, “John is practical…He has no patience…John laughs at me”

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