The Repression of Women in Victorian Society as Shown in 19th Century Literature

Decent Essays

The Repression of Women in Victorian Society as Shown in 19th Century Literature 19th century literature reflects to a certain extent, several ways in which women were repressed in Victorian society. They were considered inferior to men, and given a stereotypical image, showing them as gentle, loyal and angelic. They were rejected of any personal opinions or independence, for these were only a man’s privilege. Class and status also affected women of the era. Evidence for these and further repressions can be found in the short stories of 19th century writers.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, which relates partially to her own …show more content…

The wife’s vivid imagination of a ‘haunted house’ brings her husband to laugh at her. This is not seen as mockery of her thoughts for ‘one expects that’. She also has personal disagreements with her husband’s ideas, and feels ‘congenial work, with excitement and change’ are forbidden things which would do her good. However she has to conceal these opinions and emotions due to her position, and is even restricted from writing them down on paper, as she cannot in any way reveal them ‘to a living soul’. Because ‘what is one to do’ when under the ideas of a ‘practical husband’. John is referred to as ‘practical in the extreme’ and the fact that he is a ‘physician’ makes his authority over his wife even greater.

The story shows the wife’s opinions obliterated by her husband’s unquestionable power over her actions, with which no consideration was made to what she thought was best for her recovery.

‘The Black Veil’ can also relate to this ignorant attitude. From this story, a naïve ‘young medial practitioner, is the narrative, ignoring the suffering of a distraught woman, for he feels he knows best. As well the doctor seeks a wife who will ‘gladden his lonely fireside, and stimulate him to fresh exertions’, just as the physician in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ who wishes to have an obedient and proper wife.

Here we can see that

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