A Feminist Critique of The Yellow Wallpaper | Teen Ink

A Feminist Critique of The Yellow Wallpaper

October 31, 2011
By Mellas SILVER, Oak Lawn, Illinois
Mellas SILVER, Oak Lawn, Illinois
5 articles 0 photos 1 comment

“Never let the hand you hold, hold you down” (QuoteGarden).Women should never be held back by their husbands because they are women. Charlotte Perkins Gilman is an author from Connecticut who wrote the short story The Yellow Wallpaper. She was a utopian feminist during a time when her accomplishments were exceptional for women (CharlottePerkins). In The Yellow Wallpaper, the narrator Jane is being someone she’s not to please her husband. Her husband John makes her feel like she is locked in the relationship. Using feminist criticism, the reader can analyze Charlotte Perkins-Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper through John, Jane, and symbols.
To begin with, the husband John makes Jane feel like she is trapped because he is always there trying to control her. “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage” (Gilman). When Jane says she is sick John just laughs at her and says she is fine because she is perfectly healthy on her outside view but mentally ill. He doesn’t see past her outside appearance to see that she in unhappy on the inside. “There comes John, and I must put this away, he hates to have me write a word” (Gilman). John is a very dominant male and has to be in control of everything all the time so to know that she is writing what she feels, he doesn’t approve of it. John wants to have complete control over everything Jane does which that is how a lot of men are towards their mate.
Furthermore, Jane the narrator of this book is very lost in herself but she doesn’t show it because she has all the necessities in live she is just not happy with where she is. “You see he does not believe I am sick” (Gilman). She isn’t happy but because everyone says that she is she just goes along with it instead of standing up for what she wants. Jane feels as if she is so trapped that she can’t say exactly what she wants. “So I take phosphates or phosphites – whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to work until I am well again” (Gilman). Instead of being happy Jane goes along with what everyone is saying by taking whatever medicines they push at her and not working because they tell her “she is sick” so she just does what they say instead of doing what she really wants.
In addition, this short story has many symbols on how women just accept what happens around them. “The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow. Strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight” (Gilman). This is saying that John is smoldering Jane but she doesn’t get out of it, she just keeps letting time pass her by. “Up and down and sideways they crawl, and those absurd, unblinking eyes are everywhere” (Gilman). Jane feels as if John is always there watching her, she has no time to herself to do what she wants to do.
In the end, feminist criticism helped analyze The Yellow Wallpaper through John, Jane, and symbols. Women can learn from this short story that they don’t need to feel trapped by men or how the society runs because they are their own person and can do whatever they please. Also, letting someone just completely control someone takes every opportunity away from them that they possibly could have had. The significance of this story is if someone ever feels trapped by someone or something they should know that they do have options they don’t have to stay trapped forever.

Work Cited
“American Writer”. Charlotte Perkins. Women’s Biography. 20 Sep. 2011
“Feminist Quotes”. Quotes. 2011. Brainy Quotes. 20 Sep. 2011
“Charlotte Perkins Gilman(1899)” The Yellow Wallpaper. Conneticut.

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