Voices Of The Woman Beyond The Pattern

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“Voices of the Woman Beyond the Pattern”

"The Yellow Wallpaper", written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1892, is at first glance the story of a woman driven to madness in a desperate attempt to escape the strict confines placed on her by the treatment regime of the day. More than that though, Gilman has created an alter ego to give voice to her own experiences and frustrations with the societal constraints imposed on women at the time of its publishing. This tale of disempowerment and the subjugation of one woman 's wants and needs, is in fact a bold statement criticizing the societal repression of women in general. Indeed, the final act of the tearing down of the yellow wallpaper is an allegory for the need of women to break free of the constraints imposed on them by a male-dominated culture. One way or another, the pattern will be broken.

Gilman’s own story starts at her birth in 1860. Her father’s family included such radicals as the famous Harriet Beecher Stowe, while her mother’s people were well known, conservative New England stock. From a young age she is torn between the expectations that she follow a traditional feminine path as a wife and mother, and her desire to embrace a career working to better the role of women in society. After working to put herself through school, Gilman meets and marries Walter Stetson, although with some trepidation over what this marriage will mean in relation to her future goals. The patriarchal society of the time allows men the
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