Free Essay About Profession
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Family, Women, Husband, Literature, Society, The Yellow Wallpaper, Situation, Men
The Yellow Wallpaper
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, being a well-known women rights activist does not disappoint in her short story The yellow Wallpaper. In the book, she so wittingly addresses different issues affecting women by narrating her own experiences in the hands of her husband, John. In facts, it is her unique autobiographical approach in her story that endeared he to her readers most of who found it easy to identify with her own situation in the story. In the story, she shares with the readers he own struggle with depression and anxiety as well as challenges of male dominance. Gilman’s decision to take a role in the story as the fictional narrator is an evidence that she can represent women and highlight their plight in the face of a the difficulties women face in the highly patriarchal society.
Gilman begins her story by explaining the narrator’s limitation as a wife by depicting the husband as being in control of the narrator’s condition. As a physician, the narrator’s husband is quick to give professional opinion without necessarily considering what the narrator would think of it. The narrator explains that even though she does not agree with the husband’s position on her depression and nervousness, she can do nothing about it as the husband would hear none of it. It is clear that if the narrator was free to make her own decisions regarding her condition, she would be doing things differently. She believes, for instance, that the treatment prescribed for her by both her husband and brother, both of whom are physicians of good standing, which involves the instructions that she avoids ‘work’ is not going to work for her. Nevertheless, she must adhere to the advice because the husband makes such decisions for her.
In her narration, Gilman addresses the theme of the role of women and men in the society. Hers is a depiction of how men and, by extension, the whole society views women. She begins by emphasizing her husband’s position in the society. She indicates that being a woman, she needs not voice her concerns because her pint of view will not make a difference in the mind of her husband John. In her narration, one is able to notice the sense of hopelessness that surrounds her life. The deep seated sadness that has engulfed her life is present in her every other statement. This state of sadness is easily recognizable in her voice and attitude throughout the story.
As the narrator becomes more aware of her restrictions and restraints imposed by her husband, a feeling of discontentment creeps into her and she feels like fighting to regain her freedom but she is too weak to. She suggests that it is the wrongs done to her by the husband that is causing her anguish and problems. She feels hurt that the husband does not seem to notice this and continues to ignore her every day. This state of affairs makes her mad and only aggravates her problem. Her husband does not recognize this as he believes the narrator is depressed. Gilman appears determined to break the chains that hold her down to the state of servitude to the husband who thinks she cannot do anything for herself and therefore she must be protected and guided every single minute.
The writer uses personification and imagery in her story to give a clear depiction of her problem. The patterns on the wall represent he problems. The fact that the patterns cannot flow to a graceful end represents the seeming endlessness of her troubles. ‘You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well underway in mastering it, it turns back somersault and there you are.’ This shows the woman’s desperate attempt to get herself off the bondage of male dominance and control.
At some point along the story, the writer seems to have accepted her situation and made a decision to conform to the societal expectation of women in terms of the roles assigned to them, that of a wife and mother. It is apparent that she cannot stand the punishment anymore and must now abandon any attempts to free herself. She, however, remains without answers knowing so well that she cannot understand why the society treats women the way it does. The reality of her situation refuses to go away and she fights on. She now feels more irritated than ever and becomes more aggressive. She is tortured by her situation. ‘The pattern is torturing’, she writes. But even after she does manage to deceive her husband that her condition is deteriorating, he does not appear to believe her. He gets mad and tears the room apart. This could be taken to symbolize the narrator tearing apart the chains that bind her.
The story ends with the narrator in a state of madness. This is an indication that a woman has a heavy price to pay for fighting against the discrimination of women by the society. It is an indication that the fight for emancipation of women is going to meet ruthless opposition from men. Women must therefore prepare to make certain sacrifices to claim their rightful position in the society.