Charlotte Perkins Gilman The Yellow Wallpaper Essays

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The room also represents an attempt to lock up the narrator’s mind and prevent her from engaging her intellect in worthwhile activities.

The confinement in the room, therefore, suggests a desire to confine women’s ideas to their minds, denying them an opportunity to voice their views.

While John is physician, which presupposes his advanced education, his wife is a housewife who lacks the freedom to pursue any academic career.

The idea of locking her in the room suggests a desire to domesticate women like caged animal.

She believes that at some point the patterns "suddenly commit suicide- plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions" (Gilman 9).

Gilman suggests that such suppressive societal values could only lead to insanity.

Soon after she was born, young Charlotte’s father (an accomplished writer) abandoned her mother and left her to raise Charlotte and her older brother.

Impoverished, and without means of support except for the infrequent appearances of her wayward husband, Charlotte’s mother spent time living with various family members in Rhode Island.

She often left Charlotte in the care of her aunts – Catherine Beecher whose brand of “domestic feminism” would come to be seen as no better than domestic slavery by her niece; Isabella Beecher Hooker, whose suffragist activism inspired her neice; and Harriet Beecher Stower, the famous author of and champion of abolition whose failure to apply the same standards to the treatment of women would be corrected by the actions of her niece.

Charlotte’s mother did not show her children any affection in an effort to prepare them for what she perceived as the world’s callousness.


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