Anaylsis of the Yellow Wallpaper
Megan Wyld 13HF AS91479 Hypothesis: Gillman utilizes the yellow wallpaper to expose oppression against ladies living in patriarchal society in the 19th Century. After studying and analyzing Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s narrative ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, I am able to make the hypothesis that Gillman uses the yellow wallpaper to expose injustice against females living in patriarchal society in the 19th Century. The short story is written based on Gillman’s own life when she went through “nervous prostration” after the birth of her child. Gillman enables her readers to understand the viewpoint of a female in the 9th century and how her role in society led to madness. Feminist literacy critics Ed. Janet Witalec “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1) and Rena Korb, “A summary of ‘The Yellow Wallpaper'” (2) both support my hypothesis. They evaluate the behaviour and environment of the narrator in relation to this period of time. This woman who is experiencing worried anxiety narrates “The Yellow Wallpaper”. She is wed to a medical professional, who manages her life. Through patronising and bombarding her with concepts that she must feel, her hubby needs that she must not write. He declares her imaginative activities ill only make her more “nervous” and “insane”, although the narrator found excellent delight in writing. She keeps a secret journal of which she explains the yellow wallpaper and the environment that she resides in. Her journal provides the readers an insight to her viewpoint on life as an oppressed female in the 19th Century. Witalec and Korb use a feminist lens to reveal their opinions on the short story, which support my hypothesis. Ed. Janet Witalec discusses the patriarchal pressures on women in the 19th Century, which caused challenges for the whole female gender. Witalec states hat in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ “critics acknowledge the story as a feminist text written in demonstration of the irresponsible treatment of women by a patriarchal society” (1) Witalec supports the hypothesis that the yellow wallpaper exposed oppression against women who resided in the 19th Century society. She acknowledges that males were the most dominant in society and therefore developed boundaries and rules for women, even those who were of the higher class. Witalec describes that the confinement of the narrator in the room looks like the narrator’s position in society during the 19th Century in reference to gender inequality.
She specifies, “The storyteller’s confinement to her house and her feelings of being controlled and preyed on by those around her, particularly her spouse, is a sign of the many domestic limitations that society puts upon females.” (1) This supports my hypothesis from a different viewpoint. Witalec explains that not just the wallpaper resembles the oppression against ladies however also her hubby controls her both physically and mentally, instructing her with how she ought to feel. Her partner situated her in the room upstairs surrounded by the “revolting”, “smouldering” yellow wallpaper, when the storyteller complains about the paper her hubby John) says “this place is doing you great”. The narrator was majorly impacted by the patriarchal pressures of the 19th Century, which resulted in her having no flexibility. She was constantly informed what to do, how to feel and what was finest for her without her making any decisions for herself. I agree with the statement Witalec makes, as it is evidential in the main text when the storyteller explains “John says if I don’t get much faster he shall send me to Weir Mitchell in the fall.” “he stated I wasn’t able to go”, “I am a doctor dear, I understand”, Megan Wyld 13HF AS91479 “you will never ever for one instant let that idea enter your mind! “.
We observe that the narrator is restrained and trapped amongst her partner’s demands; she is helpless in comparison to him. Witalec states “her (the storyteller’s) mindset is worsened by her partner’s medical viewpoint that she confine herself to your home. “( 1) I concur with Witalec’s declaration, as although John is a qualified doctor and for that reason believes he is right, it strongly appears that his medical opinion is threatening his other half’s peace of mind. Their marital relationship is a representation of 19th Century inequality and shows the readers their “regular” relationship was afflicted by control of body and mind through a dominant male attitude.
Witalec likewise describes, “The yellow wallpaper itself ends up being a sign of this oppression to a lady who feels caught in her roles as other half and mom” (1) Witalec is referring to the distress that the wallpaper has actually caused the storyteller’s mind. The storyteller states “This paper looks to me as if it knew what a vicious impact it had!” by describing the wallpaper, we can relate her ideas to the society she lives in as the people in the 19th Century know that the inequality present is vicious and unfair yet everyday it still affected females’s lives on a negative basis. I agree with what Witalec is mentioning, it is obvious that he narrator is unhappy with her position in society and feels dominated and caught. I believe that the yellow wallpaper is unquestionably utilized to expose the injustice against ladies in the 19th Century society, as well as the contribution from the marital relationship that the storyteller is associated with. It is clear that there was a huge difference between the worth of male and female viewpoints and choices. The storyteller is sent to prison in the patriarchal society and uses the yellow wallpaper to reveal her feelings towards the society she is trapped in. Ladies nowadays are more powerful in society due to methods which they have altered their functions.
Such as not being viewed as somebody’s wife and mother. Whose functions are to cook, tidy and support their household. Today females in the 21st century are educated therefore they themselves have become positive in their own choices without the male voice. I am grateful to reside in this century, as it would have been awful to feel helpless and vindicated even if of my gender. Rena Korb thinks that ‘The Yellow Wallpaper” ‘discuss many issues relevant to females of the 19th century, most particularly that of the functions they are enabled to play.” (2) I partially agree with Korb’s declaration as the tory does discuss the functions that ladies were ‘permitted’ to play in the 19th Century. I likewise think that a significant function of the story was to show ladies who are controlled by the male gender, that there is successful ways of taking control of life as a specific (i. e.– self expression). This is symbolically displayed in the story when the storyteller tears the wallpaper down- becoming totally free. Korb describes that the narrator establishes a relationship with the yellow wallpaper, this is because “the narrator has no physical or spiritual escape from her partner, she needs to look for relief somewhere else: in the yellow wallpaper” (2 ).
This describes the absence of love in their marriage; nowadays women prefer the companionship of another individual- male or female. When the narrator first views the wallpaper she instantly dislikes of it- “I never saw a worse paper in my life”. As her time in the space advances she becomes fonder of the wallpaper and takes extended quantity of time to analyse the patterns “I never saw a lot expression in an inanimate thing before,”. Korb goes over “her Megan Wyld 13HF AS91479 (the narrator’s) initial discomfort reduces as she sees mirrored in the wallpaper her own existence” (2) I agree with Korb’s declaration as when the arrator thoroughly takes a look at the shapes and designs within the wallpaper she finds there are two prideful patterns. The front pattern is concealed with bars looking like a jail time sense, and in the back pattern there is a female figure attempting to get away, this appears from the main text- “The faint figure behind appeared to shake the pattern, simply as if she wished to get out”. This quote enables the readers to determine that the female figure in the wallpaper shows the narrator and her position in the 19th Century society, as the injustice versus ladies triggered females of the eneration to be caught among males’ beliefs and requirements. The narrator strives to get away from the ‘norm’ and “shake” free from the patriarchal structures of the 19th Century society. This idea is really similar to the woman in the wallpaper who shakes the bars she is put behind bars behind, in attempt to leave. This concept entirely supports my hypothesis, and shows straight that the yellow wallpaper exposes the oppression against ladies in the 19th Century. Korb discusses that although the storyteller abhors her lack of freedom, she still purposefully stays oblivious when her partner makes every decision for er. Korb states, “This practice of the narrator of intentionally misreading her environments appears throughout the story. For instance when John declines to give in to her fancies about altering the wallpaper” (2) I agree with the statement that Korb makes due to the fact that in the main text when the narrator challenges John about her dislike towards the wallpaper. John states “I (the storyteller) was letting it overcome me” and “He said that after the wallpaper was altered it would be the heavy bedstead next, and then the disallowed windows, and after that eviction at the head of the stairs and so on. These quotes highlight the power that John has versus his better half, and enable the reader to understand that in the 19th Century the male’s opinion always overthrew the women’s opinion. This can connect to my hypothesis as the narrator was dealt with against the wallpaper everyday and if she got her method as soon as then the remainder of the furniture plans would follow, similar to if women were not oppressed any longer, other circumstances would alter too. The wallpaper is a sign of the injustice against females in the 19th Century. Korb poses really substantial questions in relation to John’s action o the wallpaper modification; she states, “Is he advising her of her confinement? Does she recognize this subtle way of managing her? Rather than facing such a possibility she instead, outwardly, counts on John’s recommendations.” (2) These questions that Korb presents are enormously appropriate to the quote stated previously as John recommendations to the environment that the narrator is designated in; “heavy bedstead”, “disallowed windows”, “gate at the top of the stairs”, John emphasises the confinement that her surroundings present. He blatantly names all pieces in her space that trap her from the larger world, s though it provides him a sense of pleasure and fulfillment. The narrator may not authorize of the control and dominance that is set upon her however is left with no choice, as it was the ‘norm’ in the 19th Century living in a patriarchal society, for that reason to John she acts unaware of the controlling situation that she is in. This idea might be viewed as a weak and afraid quality of the narrator, although she strengths as the story progresses and rips the Megan Wyld 13HF AS91479 wallpaper off the wall in order to feel free and ward off John demands. She breaks John’s supremacy and utilizes the wallpaper to express her feelings nd what she desires. Women nowadays have a voice of their own, and their viewpoints and judgements are not overruled by the male gender. In basic nowadays if a women spoke with their partner about altering the wallpaper due to them disliking it, it would be worked out on a fair basis, the women’s opinion would be taken into account. Being a New Zealand person I am proud too know that we were the very first nation in the World to offer ladies a voice, and that gradually offered hope and modification for females throughout the World. After evaluating these two critics opinions relating to the oppression against prophecies living in a patriarchal society it is clear that both critics support my hypothesis going over slightly different viewpoints. The yellow wallpaper describes how the storyteller was trapped and dominated cruelly by the male gender. Interestingly references to patterns within the wallpaper dispute with the storytellers frame of mind. Nevertheless we learn her relationship with the wallpaper develops into something much deeper which appears to show her sensation of confinement. By utilizing a feminist lens to convey my hypothesis one can only imagine the overall aggravation at never being spoken with on matters of mportance to her such as the simplest of things- altering the wallpaper. The storyteller’s inner chaos through being oppressed is lastly launched by tearing off the yellow wallpaper she has actually gotten away. I am glad to be a part of the 21st century where women are accepted for who they are and not oppressed by the male gender. (1) “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Narrative Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 62. Detroit: Windstorm, 2003. Literature Resource Center. Web. 7 May 2014. (2) Korb, Rena. “A summary of ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’.” Windstorm Online Encyclopedia. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 Feb. 2011.