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The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman Essay

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A Woman’s Imprisonment in “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins 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 due to her mental illness, which are imposed on her by her husband and physician, John. The way in which male physicians treated women during the nineteenth century 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, he is consistently revealed as a superior and patriarchal figure to the narrator, rather than a romantic partner. The narrator’s trivialization in the marriage is demonstrated at the very beginning of the story when she admits that her husband “John laughs at [her]” then tries to vindicate his insensitivity by saying that “one expects that in marriage” (3). Likewise, she introduces John as someone who is “practical in the extreme..., has no patience with faith...and scoffs openly at
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