The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Gilman Essay

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“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman examines the negative effects of the “rest cure”, a common approach used in the nineteenth century to treat women suffering from severe nervous symptoms (Bassuk 245). The text not only condemns the callous, medical treatment that the narrator endures, but, it also addresses the misogynistic beliefs and the resulting gender inequalities that endorse the use of such treatments. This theme is made explicit in the narrator’s persistent attempts to escape the authoritarian confinement, gender discrimination and marginalization of her mental illness imposed by her husband John, who is also her physician. The way in which male physicians treated women during this time period is challenged through the narrator’s lens as she struggles for freedom and for a life beyond the boundaries set by her husband.
Through the minimal interactions that John has with his wife, John is consistently revealed as a superior and patriarchal figure to the narrator-rather than a romantic partner- which results in her subordination within their marriage. The speaker’s trivialization is demonstrated at the very beginning of the story when she admits that her husband “John laughs at [her]” but tries to vindicate him by saying that “one expects that in marriage” (3). Likewise, the speaker introduces John as someone who is “practical in the extreme..., has no patience with faith...and scoffs openly any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures”

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