One of the major goals of feminist literature is to determine what kind of voice women have or do not have in a world, dominated by men. Women were seen as not important as men in society, and language was one of the tools that emphasize men’s power over women. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper the author talks about the dominance power of men over women. It was written during a time when women didn’t have the rights and freedom that they do now.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a prominent American feminist, sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction, and a lecturer for social reform. She was best known in her time as a journalist and feminist intellectual. Gilman suffered from numerous bouts of depression. She traveled to see famous neurologist S. Weir Mitchell who “prescribed” a rest cure that, in her words, brought her “perilously close to losing my mind.” Through “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman highlights a young women’s path to insanity to describe the nature of marriage at that time, and how men were able to force women into submission. When Gilman’s doctor received A copy of the story and although he never replied to Gilman personally, he is said to have confessed to a friend that he had changed his treatment of hysterics after reading the story.
Although the autobiographical aspects of “The Yellow Wallpaper” are compelling, it is the symbolism and the underlying feminist connotations that lead best to discussion. First, John , the narrator’s husband. He could be viewd as the patriarchy itself, by forcing his wife to do nothing in her life .Jane, The narrator. She described how women lived at that time and how she was controlled by her husband ,John. He also prevented her from writing. But because writing is the only way where she can escape the reality of her illness; that’s why she continues to write hiding her journal from him.
With the majority of the story taking place in a room that induces nothing but scorn and insanity from the female protagonist, it is clear that feminist views are further accentuated through Jane’s surroundings. Her environment is almost prison-like; her husband gave her a room which Jane asked him that she wants the wallpaper to be repapered, her husband refuses, stating “that after the wall-paper was changed it would be the heavy bedstead, and then the barred windows, and then that gate at the head of the stairs, and so on”
To sum up, this story is used as tool to express the author’s feminist views, illustrating the physical and mental hardships faced by women in this time period.
These ideas were expressed by John’s action and Jane’s thoughts and the setting of the story. Through the story, Gilman described struggles placed on women by society. She wrote this story inspired by her own experience and how the women’s life was controlled and limited and their attempt to free themselves from the controlling powers of men.