Gender Role Effects in "The Yellow Wallpaper"

1564 WordsFeb 25, 20137 Pages
Holly Fant Professor McClearen English 1102 24 April 2012 Gender Role Effects in “The Yellow Wallpaper” Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a feminist writer who wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” in the 1890’s. During this time period the woman were expected to keep the house clean, care for their children, and listen to their husbands. The men were expected to work a job and be the head of a household. The story narrates a woman’s severe depression which she thinks is linked to the yellow wallpaper. Charlotte Gilman experienced depression in her life and it inspired her to write “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The short story is based on a woman, not given a name in the text, who is very dependent on her husband. The narrator plays a gender role…show more content…
She feels as if John is turning her whole family against her and her emotions. John never listens to anything his wife has to say to him. This is an example of how women feel their opinion or voice never mattered in the 1890’s. The wife goes into great detail describing the wallpaper as if someone was really seeing it in their mind as they read the story. The paint and paper look as if a boy’s school had used it. It is stripped off- the paper- in great patches all around the head of my bed, about as far as I can reach, and in a great place on the other side of the room low down. I never saw a worse paper in my life. One of those sprawling, flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin. It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide- plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard-of contradictions. The color is repellent, almost revolting: a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight. It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others (678). This description of the wallpaper obviously shows that there is something wrong with her mentally. It also shows the reader how she really feels about it and how it is affecting her, making her go insane. The narrator states, “It is
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