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Patriarchy In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

Decent Essays
Patriarchal ideology is expressed in “The Yellow Wallpaper” that constructs the concept that women are submissive and inferior, but the breaking of patriarchy gives truth to womankind. Author Charlotte Perkins Gilman writes her short story in the form of a first person diary, written by an unnamed woman, or Jane. The diary accounts Jane’s descent into insanity as a result of her quasi-imprisonment in her room with yellow wallpaper. Jane’s husband, John, is a doctor, and according to Jane, “he does not believe that [she is] sick! And what is one to do? If a physician oh a high standing, and one’s own husband assures...that there is really nothing the matter…what is one to do?” (Gilman). Jane has a lack of self-confidence in her entry due to…show more content…
Patriarchal ideals in “Story of an Hour” enforce the inferiority of women, and breaking the patriarchy liberates womankind. Kate Chopin sheds light on the deadly results that patriarchy can bring. From the very first line, patriarchal ideals are expressed by letting the reader know that “Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, [and] great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death” (Chopin). Mrs. Mallard is too feeble to hear of her husband’s death, and keeping this news from her means that her truth is being withheld. While not explicit, this is an example of patriarchy at work. Mrs. Mallard is not strong enough for her truth, so a man must tell her sister, who then tells Mrs. Mallard. This extensive filtration supports the notion that women are inferior because they cannot handle the stress of bad news. In a turn of expectations, Mrs. Mallard sees the news of her husband’s death as a beacon of liberation. By her lonesome, Mrs. Mallard assures herself that “there would be no one to live for during those coming years [after her husband’s death]; she would live for herself.” (Chopin). Patriarchy laid down upon Mrs. Mallard so much that the breaking of it frees her. She discovers her truth for herself, not a filtered truth by a man, which is a result of the patriarchal forces in her life being dissolved.
Gender roles are established in “The Yellow Wallpaper
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