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English 361 paper - Schroeder 1 Oppression of Women in...

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Schroeder 1 Oppression of Women in Charlotte Perkins Gilman s The Yellow Wallpaper In the 19 th century, women faced many social and academic injustices. Women were deemed as fragile and highly emotional. Women were scarcely allowed to attend higher institutions of education, which limited their resources of knowledge. Due to women’s lack of education this put them at a disadvantage, among men. Women had no voting rights and rarely had control over their personal property. Charlotte Perkins Gilman proclaimed a “feminist manifesto” after she endured inequality of medical treatment because she was a woman. The Yellow Wallpaper is story that reflects Perkins personal encounter with medical mistreatment. Her treatment consisted of limited intellectual interaction, for fear it would cause stress and fatigue. This mirrored Perkins experience and lifelong battle against the restrictive patriarchal social codes for women (De Simone). The Yellow Wallpaper conveys Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s feministic and controversial convictions on the suffrage movement for women in the 19 th century, by paralleling her experience with oppression to the narrator’s struggle to free herself from her trapped and controlled life. Charlotte Perkins Gilman gained national recognition for her divisive and provocative writings on women s suffrage. After being diagnosed with depression, she was prescribed the “resting cure,” which consisted of very little intellectual and social activity. She realized her life could not be lived without creative outlets. Gilman claimed her subjection to the resting cure radically altered her life. After divorcing her husband and moving west, she became a writer and women’s suffrage advocate, as her ideal life work, instead of becoming a traditional housewife. She claimed, “One predominant duty…to find ones work, and do it...” She defined herself by her work and endeavor toward social growth (O Brien 3). Gilman believed oppression had consequences. It left women with the idea that they are less than they could be. She advocated for human progress toward social unity through an
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Schroeder 2 “intelligent and conscious society.” The gender biased themes and Gilman’s campaign to impede the suppression of women can be seen in various genres of literature , including reviews, lectures, articles, novels and short stories, such as The Yellow Wallpaper (Rudd and Gough 17).
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