The Main Issues of the Role of Women in Society, Which Are Elucidated in the Novel “The Yellow Wallpaper”

In the 19th century, women were primarily dominated by the male population. Oppression and stereotypes were just a fraction of the psychological difficulties a woman had to face. The novel “The Yellow Wallpaper” is the perfect representation of this time period. But, it is also a pinnacle of early works in American feminist literature. 

Works such as these are an important aspect of education. It can help young people get a clear picture of the ideology in this particular period. Including the sheer impact patriarchy would have on people’s lives. Here is why many universities recommend that students cover this novel in their research papers.

Impact of Gender Roles in 19th Century America

When you read the novel from a historical point of view, you will realize the risk it took to get treated for mental issues. The medical establishments in 19th century America couldn’t understand how to treat female patients with psychological problems. 

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the author of this short story, focuses on the narrator’s response to this male-run society. Her goal was to warn readers of the consequences that come with fixed gender roles. Women were expected to become dutiful wives and never question the man’s authority. 

College students, who want to study history, often have to write an essay on novels or books that cover feministic topics. Such examples, like the Yellow Wallpaper, help university students get a better picture of the adversity women had to cope with. That’s what makes a critical analysis essay on the Yellow Wallpaper a perfect task for beginner writers. There is a lot of students who can learn just by writing a plagiarism-free paper like this. Here is some more practical information you can use in your next lecture. 

The Issues of Role of Women 

The narrator talks about her marriage and how it made her feel trapped. Each day, the protagonist loses a portion of her sanity. She was misdiagnosed by her husband, John, a doctor who was supposed to understand the female psyche. He decided to confine her, instead. 

John expressively showed his intentions during a conversation with his wife. He wanted to assure his position in society and let his relatives and friends know that there is nothing wrong with just a temporary nervous breakdown. 

Rest was used as a cure. However, the cause for the problem was most likely postpartum depression. But, medicine at that time had no idea what postpartum even meant. The remarks she mentions, make it clear of her emotional state. She points out that she is fortunate to have a baby. But, she is unable to spend time with him or change her behavior since it makes her feel nervous. 

Furthermore, her husband warns her not to give in to those “fancies” – as he calls them, which refers to her condition being imaginary. Later in the story, the narrator points out that her husband doesn’t like it when she writes words or wallpapers her room. He believes his wife is better off repressing her creative “urges.” The simplest way to do that is to regain her role as a mother and a wife. 

She couldn’t study or inform herself enough to understand her emotional state. Since John is taught to be the thinker of the family, he doesn’t let his wife do the thinking. Instead, he ignores or belittles her with common insults like “little girl.” 

There is a reason for that, explains Conrad Shumaker, a professor at the University of Central Arkansas. Creative thinking will undermine a man’s universe. It makes them lose control of something that goes against their materialistic point of view. It disrespects the whole purpose of patriarchy. 

Eventually, the woman’s grip on reality shatters. The marriage crumbles, and all the efforts go down the drain. The woman succumbs to madness.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, this novel teaches us that in such restricted and male-dominated societies, everyone is doomed. The expectations are too much to bear. While overconfidence and authority only hold them back. That’s why both the wife and the husband lose something in this kind of society. The man loses his wife while the wife loses her sanity.

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