The Yellow Wallpaper
“The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, tells a story of a woman’s struggle in a patriarchal society, during postpartum. Her main oppressor is her husband John, “a physician of high standing.” Since she is his wife, he has to maintain that he is in charge of the situation, he removes her from her home, a place where women generally feel at ease, to an alleged resting-place in a “colonial mansion.” After all, “one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do?” This statement shows her sense of powerlessness of the situation and her life in general. Sadly, her brother, who is also a physician in high standing, feels the same as John.
Although she feels “that there is something queer about” the “colonial mansion” that they are residing in for the summer, she is laughed at and forced to stay. This supports the theory that the female voice is not valued much. Like other women, she has grown to expect that sort of treatment, and does not think anything of it. There is reason behind her feelings; mansions are generally in exclusive locations and separated from the outside world. This is a form of suppression that the author has used to convey the limitations set for women by men in the patriarchal society.
John’s treatment of his wife resembles a father daughter relationship not that of a husband and wife. He refers to her as his “little darling,” “little girl,” and says things like “bless her little heart.” He has her itinerary planned out, and allows for none of her input about what she feel is in her best interest.
One moonlit night, she gained enough heart to ask John if they could leave, because her condition had not improved any. He responded, “I could and would, but you reall...