The Subordination of Women in Marriage
In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is about the narrator and her physician husband John renting a secluded estate for the summer. The husband believes she is suffering an illness called neurasthenia and insist that she be put on bed rest and is forbidden from working and writing. He picks the room with the yellow wallpaper that is somewhat secluded from the rest of the house by being on the top floor. The narrator is disturbed by the wallpaper in the room and describes it as revolting. She feels uncomfortable with the estate, but obeys her husband’s decision for the two of them to stay. Also she obeys him when he chooses the room on the top floor with the wallpaper instead of the room on the ground floor that she prefers. She complains that her husband belittles both her illness and her thoughts and concerns in general. With this it describes the conventional nineteenth-century middle class marriage, with its rigid distinction between the “domestic” functions of the female and the “active” work of a male, ensured that women remain second-class citizens. In the story the narrator explains that her husband doesn’t really care about her comfortably and he just dismisses her fancies. In the story it states, “I don’t like our room a bit. I wanted one downstairs that opened onto the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz hanging. But John would not hear of it.” (Perkins 239) This is John disregarding her own comfortably or his own sake because that rom isn’t big enough for two beds if he needed to take one. He consistently patronizes her by calling her “a blessed little goose” and “little girl”. He refuses to accept her as an equal when she tries to discuss her unhappiness with the situation they are in. But John simply dismisses her and carries her back to the nursery so she can get more rest. In John Stuart Mill’s, “The Subjection of Women”, Mill takes up the position...
Cited: Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper”. Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Pearson, 2012. 237-251.
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Mill, John Stuart. The Subjection of Women. 1869. Apple iTunes iBook. iTunes. Web. 4 Mar 2013.
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