The woman behind the wallpaper

Essay by machadoandrewCollege, UndergraduateB+, November 2014

download word file, 8 pages 0.0

Andrew S. Machado

ENG_2150, HMWC [52359]

Paper 1, Literary Analysis


The Woman Hiding Behind the Pattern:

Finding oneself under the rule of Society

All over the world-women are kept in their places by hegemonic forces. More precisely, women are confined by patriarchal expectations of women in society and culture. For years women have been struggling to find greater freedom and power. They struggle with the battle between who a woman believes she is and the rule of what society expects her to be. Within the context of Thoreau, the rule, or the machine, involves the predetermined cultural expectations placed on women. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper", the friction of the machine is the confusion women develop when striving to meet those unrealistic expectations. A necessary friction of the machine that if not complied with in its entirety, leads a woman towards the brink of insanity.

The narrator finds herself traveling down this path and begins to take actions outside of what society expects. Jane clearly rebels against the rule of the machine causing a counter-friction that frees her from the rule of the machine. The narrator effectively breaks from the expectations of society and begins to discover herself, her true identity.

The setting of Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" immediately establishes the hegemonic view of the machine and how logic and reason undermine any potential for emotional expression or fulfillment. Early in the text, Jane describes the country retreat to which her husband has taken her as "A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house and reach the height of romantic felicity-but that would be asking too much of fate!" (Gilman, 172). A colonial mansion is built by man and considered the height of grand living. A mansion embodies...