The "Yellow Wallpaper" is an account of a woman who sinks into postpartum depression after having a child. The reader is privy to the gradual descent into madness of an otherwise normal woman. The central character has difficulty in separating her emotional needs from society's expectations of women's roles.
Historically treated as property and subhuman, women have subsequently tried to overcome this gender bias. The character in "The yellow wallpaper," is taught from an early age to be subservient. Women of her era were supposed to behave as sweet, docile creatures, and the only cares they should have were of husband, home, and children. Men were taught to be the dominant force, taking care of their women's every need and want, almost as if the women were children to be nurtured. Women of that era had few rights and were considered, in most cases, to be little more that property.
They were not allowed to hold positions outside of the home. It was up to the men to bring home the bacon.
In more recent times, women have still had to battle the sexist assumptions that they are incompetent and weak. In our patriarchal society, women are pressured to take sole responsibility for child rearing. Three decades of equal opportunity for men and women have barely dented the fundamental expectations the each gender face. Women, being traditionally taught that their roles in the family include such things as cook, seamstress, housekeeper, laundress, and gardener, are responsibilities dedicated to meeting the daily needs of other family members.
Now, at the turn of the millennium, women still find a cultural expectation that they nurture others, but at that same time, they are otherwise burdened with professional expectations of career or education. For the female character in "The yellow...