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Theme Of Gender Oppression In The Awakening And The Yellow Wallpaper

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John Henrik Clarke once said, “To hold people in oppression you have to convince them first that they are supposed to be oppressed.” The normality of women’s oppression affects the psyche and in return creates a number of mental illnesses within the nineteenth-century era. In The Awakening and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Chopin and Gilman utilize setting and foils to illustrate the role gender oppression contributes to mental illness.
In the Nineteenth Century, the lack of women working in the medical field and the overpowering male management causes gender oppression and the misdiagnosis of a mental illness. In The Awakening Edna, although not specifically stated, has Depression; in this era, mental illness was not something dealt with, rather it was hidden and shunned from society. When discussing her illness with Doctor Mandelet, Leonce believes “she’s got some sort of notion in her head concerning the eternal rights of women” (Chopin 62). The liberation of a woman is seen as something of a sickness which needs to be brought up to a doctor, Leonce also describes Edna as peculiar and how she has dissociated herself from the outside world. This, as well as insomnia, are signs of depression. The night Edna awoke past midnight in tears which had no explanation had no effect on her because “such experiences as the foregoing were not uncommon” (Chopin 6). Signs of mental illness and the choice of waving them off can have detrimental outcomes for the sanity of the individual, not

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