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Women in the 19th-Century Society: The Yellow Wallpaper

Literature is an artistic and intellectual way of not only addressing individuality but also the norms of society. For centuries, the literary world has been the cornerstone of relief of social spasms arising from disorder, passivity, and dictatorship as the reflection of the social reality. Thanks to literature’s powerful impact, it is possible to bring a new communal perspective with its critical and natural impulses. Writers, additionally, are the creators of the individual and social atmosphere. An author could build social awareness by creating a target audience instead of remaining silent. Thus, they transport community to different perspectives towards current social perception. In this regard, Charlotte Perkins Gilman was one of the most influential authors who chose the target that was the fundamental issue in 19th-century society: gender inequality.

Literature & Society

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, besides being a humanist and novelist, was also a utopian feminist. Through her innate intellect and depth of knowledge, she paved the way towards social equality. Her work called “The Yellow Wallpaper” emphasizes the importance of 19th-century social facts, individual roles, and most importantly, gender discrimination. In other words, in several of her novels, Gilman makes an effort to create a world seen from a feminist perspective. It is crucial to mention that Gilman broke taboos of the 19th– century social mentality towards women’s role through her powerful depictions, symbolic and imaginary expressions, which are still baseline elements of today’s literary world. Her novel, The Yellow Wallpaper is an example of Gilman’s works that focuses on how women are more than just the stay-at-home mothers they are supposed to be. The novel critically highlights the psychology of women after childbirth and the negative impacts of 19th-century psychological treatment given to women. In other words, Gilman pays attention to the effects of the patriarchal system on women whose aspirations require a world where women are just as important as men.

(Credit: Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

"The Yellow Wallpaper" provided readers with a feminist point of view in literature. It is one of the canonical gothic novels which portraits madness and weakness. According to the genre, there are certain features of Gothic novels:

· The story contains bleak or remote places.

· The plot involves macabre or violent incidents.

· Characters are in psychological and physical torment.

These features are the fundamental aspects of the social reflection of the basic 19th-century women in the novel. Moreover, the story is a first-person account of a young mother’s mental deterioration. The plot reflects Gilman’s own experience with postpartum depression. The unnamed protagonist tells her story of depression and mental deterioration. At the beginning of the story, the unnamed protagonist’s husband takes her to a country house, where she is forced to stay in a former