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Azmina ZiwaEngl 1302Professor Dybala24 November 2010Struggle Of Women In 19thCentury“The yellow wallpaper” represents the role of women in 19thcentury. According to the social norms of that time period Women in the 19thcentury were expected to full their duties as wives and mothers and to be content in their existence as nothing more. “The yellow wallpaper” is story of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s personal experience. The female narrator in “The Yellow wallpaper” is suffering from Neurasthenia (A Psychological disorder characterized by nervous exhaustion) and his husband John a practical man does not believes her wife actually sick and decides the self-identity. By focusing on the male dominance over the narrator, Gilman shows that a troubled mind, with no outlet, has no defense but to retreat to its inner sanctum. Gilman makes a convincing statement about gender roles in this time period, the debate of mental illness vs. physical ailment, feminism, women having lack of self-confidence, struggle of women and the concept of freedom in insanity in her exquisitely written short story. “The yellow wallpaper” is written in the time period of 19thcentury and males dominating females are common here. The period of the late 1800's was a time when male dominance was prominent in society and women were meant to be seen, not heard. Women of that period never speak out for their rights or freedom. Women of the time did not defend their own opinions or beliefs by opposing their male counterparts, regardless of the relationship between them. The narrator recognizes this fact in many ways from the beginning of the story. She even says, in the opening lines, "John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in
marriage” (544). Here the narrator tries to explain her place in john’s life. She knows her husband very well that he will never understand her and concept of marriage, and he just knows to rule the narrator. Ann Heilmann states in her article ‘Overwriting Decadence: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Oscar Wilde, and the Feminization of Art in 'The Yellow Wallpaper.' that Gilman's purpose in writing "TheYellow Wall-Paper"has been variously linked to a radical attack on the institutions of marriage and motherhood; to an indictment of patriarchal medicine and science; to a celebration of the subversiveness of the hysteric; to an interrogation of the relationship between the personal and the political, the autobiographical and the historical; and lastly, to a cultural critique of the literal as well as literary and linguistic, the material and the symbolic, problems faced by the woman who wants to survive as an artist in a male-dominated society”(AH). Heilmann states the yellow wallpaper explains about marriage and male dominated society.