Comp 2 - Megan Vanoy ENC 1102 06B Fowler 19 November 2017 The Negative Impacts of Men's Behavior on Women in the 19th and 20th Centuries Patriarchy has

Comp 2 - Megan Vanoy ENC 1102 06B Fowler 19 November 2017...

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Megan VanoyENC 1102 06BFowler19 November 2017The Negative Impacts of Men's Behavior on Women in the 19th and 20th CenturiesPatriarchy has been practiced for ages and has caused problems in the lives of many women. Women have never been respected or seen as equals to men, always being told how to live their lives. Even in today’s society, men have a leg up on women and people are still sexist towards women. Women in the 19th and early 20th centuries were impacted mentally and sometimes physically due to their subordination to men. Women had little freedom and had to say and do what men told them. This is evident in stories such as “The Yellow Wallpaper” where the narrator’s husband isolates her and causes her to go insane, while the husband of Minnie Wright in “A Jury of Her Peers” causes her to snap and ultimately brings his own death upon him. In the past, and even today, there have been occasions where patriarchy has been shown primarily through abuse. One of these instances can be seen in the life of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. She was born in 1860, when men still had a significant advantage over women. Gilman was married and had one child. She was said to be depressed and after she gave birth, she was said to have “postpartum depression.” Gilman wanted to get help and in order to get better, she went to see a doctor by the name of S. Weir Mitchell. Mitchell was an American Physician and attempted to help Gilman overcome her mental illness. His method of fixing her problem, was to use something known as a “rest cure.” In a lecture that Mitchell gave in 1904, twelve years after “The Yellow Wallpaper” was published, he discussed some of his reasons behind the rest cure.
He was a surgeon during the civil war and reported that many soldiers suffered from “acute exhaustion.” In order for these people to get better, they simply had to rest. In another case, a man had ataxia, that caused him to break one of his legs. He rested in bed for three months and when he finally stood up, he broke his other leg. The soldier then had to rest for another three months. “At the end of that time he confessed with satisfaction that his ataxia was better, and thathe was, as he remained thereafter, free from pain” (260). After those successful cases, Mitchell felt justified in his treatment for Gilman. However, his treatment had the opposite effect, by making her worse. The story of her struggle was turned into an actual story, known as “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The short story is much more exaggerated in order to make it more captivating to readers, but the message relays the same. In the story, the unnamed narrator was secluded to a house in the middle of nowhere, for three months. Her husband in the story, John, was also represented as her physician. He set up an itinerary for her and she did the same things every single day. The narrator expressed herself through writing, but with this treatment, she wasn’t allowed to write anymore. It restricted her freedoms and forced her to be somebody she wasn’t. Eventually, the narrator started seeing hallucinations and the depression ultimately got worse. Her condition reached the point where wallpaper was enough to drive her crazy and the wallpaper bothered her so much that she tore every last piece of it off of the wall. She had wanted to release the women she believed was “trapped” in the wall and she believed the lady was herself. The narrator was the one who was trapped the whole time and she didn’t realize it till the end. As Karen Ford says in her critical analysis of the story, “there can be no doubt that the narrator dwells in the middle of Patriarchy.” There are men surrounding her, representing the authority that they have over her and the lack of power she has due to them. The men believe thatthey have the best interest in mind when trying to help the narrator, however it inevitably causes

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