Feminist aspects of the yellow wallpaper

Plot summary[ edit ] The story is told from the perspective of Vandyck "Van" Jennings, a sociology student who, along with two friends, Terry O. Nicholson and Jeff Margrave, forms an expedition party to explore an area of uncharted land rumored to be home to a society consisting entirely of women. The three friends do not entirely believe the rumors because they are unable to think of a way how human reproduction could occur without males. The men speculate about what a society of women would be like, each guessing differently based on the stereotype of women which he holds most dear:

Feminist aspects of the yellow wallpaper

Jeffrey and Lonette Stayton Awards for Writing Charlotte Perkins Gilman had no way of knowing that a story she wrote in would one day be regarded as a classic in feminist literature. Early readers were appreciative of the sheer horror of the tale, and, indeed, it still stands as a wonderful example of the genre.

As Gary Scharnhorst points out, this treatment originated with Dr. He could be viewed as the patriarchy itself, as Beverly Hume says, with his dismissal of all but the tangible and his constant condescension to his wife, but some critics have viewed this character as near-caricature Many of the passages concerning the husband can be interpreted as containing sarcasm, a great many contain irony, and several border on parody Johnson And he is also transformed at the end of the tale—in a reversal of traditional gothic roles—because it is he, not a female, who faints when confronted with madness Central to the story is the wallpaper itself.

Her obsession with the paper begins subtly and then consumes both the narrator and the story. The design begins to fascinate the narrator and she begins to see more than just the outer design.

Further, according to Bak, this new prison, as described by Michael Foucault in Discipline and Punishinvolved observance of prisoners at all times Bak goes on to suggest that the nursery room, with its barred windows and rings in the wall, was designed for the restraint of mental patients, but other critics assert that these were in fact common safety precautions used in Victorian nurseries and that such interpretations are extreme.

As the story progresses, the narrator identifies more and more with the figure in the wallpaper, until in one of the most controversial statements in the entire text she refers to herself in the third person.

Feminist aspects of the yellow wallpaper

Probably the most common interpretation of this line assumes Jane to be the previously unmentioned name of the narrator. With that in mind, we will assume for convenience sake that the name Jane does in fact refer to the narrator herself. These statements ring true regarding Victorian sexuality; it was as immobile as the unmoving bedstead.

A Victorian wife belonged to her husband and her body was his to do with whatever he pleased. In this context, the image of the nailed-down bed becomes perhaps the most understandable symbol in the entire story. What of the narrator herself and her madness?

The narrator is presented as an artist at least in a small way and a writer and it is through her writing, Johnson says, that her suppressed rage becomes apparent There is further justification in believing her madness to be temporary.

Almost all writings on the story have a alluded to this connection; some discuss it at length. Perhaps the comparison is inevitable, as Bertha Mason is probably the most well-known example of a gothic madwoman.

Greg Johnson says it is the anger, the boiling rage, of these alter egos that results in eventual triumph over their patriarchal influences There is another similarity between Bertha Mason and the narrator of our tale: This may be an identification with animal behavior or a way to explain that both characters have lost touch with civilization or the patriarchy.

Is she truly an unreliable narrator, sinking steadily into irretrievable madness? Or is she exhibiting the only sane response to an insane world order? Does she find doom in her madness? Or triumph and freedom at last? However, as both Johnson and King and Morris point out, it is this response which grants her freedom in the end.

So when the narrator destroys the paper and pulls it down in the end, it might be symbolic of the destruction of her other self.

In fact, it is significant that the entire story revolves around wallpaper, which would be considered by many to be merely feminine frivolity. In the story, the pregnant woman had requested that the wallpaper be changed in her room. Modern women, by reading such texts, can gain a new perspective on our present situation.

We can also learn to avoid past pitfalls. Works Cited Bak, John S. An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. King, Jeannette and Pam Morris. Lynette Carpenter and Wendy K.This essay offers a very basic introduction to feminist literary theory, and a compendium of Great Writers Inspire resources that can be approached from a feminist perspective.

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We have now placed Twitpic in an archived state. Herland is a utopian novel from , written by feminist Charlotte Perkins plombier-nemours.com book describes an isolated society composed entirely of women, who reproduce via parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction). The result is an ideal social order: free of war, conflict, and domination.

It was first published in monthly installments as a serial in in The Forerunner, a magazine edited and.

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