The Yellow Wallpaper Patriarchy Analysis

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Madness is freedom from patriarchy” Discuss this interpretation in light of the presentation of female imprisonment in The Yellow Wallpaper and Jane Eyre. Women in 19th century literature were typically characterised stereotypical, as “angels” or as “monsters” by the majority of writers who were typically men. However the minority of writers who were women would not identify themselves with those archetypes. These archetypes are exaggerated and artificial “her battle, however, is not against her (male) precursor’s reading of the world but against his reading of her” (Gilbert – Gubar 1984). The lack of sympathy held by John and Rochester towards the mad female characters, the ‘monsters’ is representative of general attitudes towards madness…show more content…
Gilman, like many other feminist writers uses the symbolism of space as a part of which she places her narrator. John puts his wife in the previous nursery room which symbolises her status within of society. Loralee MacPike claimed that by using the symbolism of the space in which she places her narrator, Gilman illustrates that women in her times were treated like children. The proper place of living for the nineteenth-century woman was a children’s room, full of “rings and things”, since her position in society was actually the same. The windows of the nursery room are barred, which drives the reader to the conclusion that the narrator lives in a prison and that she “is to be forever imprisoned in childhood, forbidden to ‘escape’ into adulthood”. Society says that the narrator in the Yellow Wallpaper is mad yet its precisely this madness that gives her the strength to crush her husbands authority over her. Her husband limits her to a room that has a "repellent" and “smouldering, unclean yellow wallpaper", the narrator has almost nothing else to focus upon than the wallpaper. The Yellow Wallpaper is critical in the narrators journey from repression to freedom. However the result has been uncertain, disassociating herself from her actual self in a suicide of her mind that leaves her, from her husband and others. Her attempt to be freed from patriarchy failed and rather result in a worsened position than she was. The narrator reflects the position that many women in the nineteenth century experienced including Charlotte Bronte “her dilemma is not strictly personal, for the forces that shaped her are the processes that shaped many women’s lives” -MacPike. It can be therefore concluded that the example of the woman from the wallpaper is introduced by Gilman to inspire other woman to oppose the stagnation and demeaning position in which women had to live.

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