The Yellow Wallpaper Essay

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In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the idea of “true womanhood” is challenged. The white woman portrayed in the story is prescribed what is known as the “rest cure” due to the overwhelming pressure of being the perfect woman, wife, and mother. Driven mad by the smothering of her husband and her inability to do anything for herself, the woman in this story goes crazy attempting to free herself from the constraints. In stark contrast to the woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Sojourner Truth, a former slave, delivers a speech titled, “Ain’t I a Woman,” in 1851 that shakes people to their very core. A little before “The Yellow Wallpaper” was released, Truth shares a message that is astoundingly different from the…show more content…
The narrator of Gilman’s story may be envious of Truth and her freedom in the sense of being able to work. Meanwhile, Truth is arguing she is a woman just as much as the white woman is, yet is treated drastically differently. While the white woman in Gilman’s story is forbidden to work because it has seemingly made her ill, Truth has been forced to live a life full of work. In addition to work conditions being astoundingly different between white and black women, the treatment of children and motherhood is also very different. The woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” is actually suffering from post-partum depression. This mother “can not be with him, it makes [her] so nervous” (Gilman 3). The narrator has the ability to be with her child, to love and hold him; on the other hand, Truth is stripped of any ability to care for her children. While delivering her speech Truth mentions that “[she has] borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off into slavery” and goes on to further state that “when [she] cries out with a mothers grief, none but Jesus heard [her]” (Truth). The mother in “The Yellow Wallpaper” is too nervous to be with her baby all the time and has issues concerning being a mother. All the while, Truth is begging for a chance to see her children and to have the chance to be a mother. An opportunity that the white woman takes for granted and finds overwhelming, black women would love to have. This time period featured a concept

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