The Powerful Male Authority

Essay by picklepieCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2006

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Where is the man who has the power and skill to stem the torrent of a women's will?

- Unknown

On the pages of the short stories "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "Hills Like White Elephants" the control and power that men had over women is reflected in the conflicts women of these stories face. The male - female connection has evolved with the demands of time. Presently, in North America, women dominate corporate towers and universities, and are ever present in political fields. We exist in a society that values the rights and accomplishments of the woman, and woman have become nearly equal to their counterpart - the man. However, it was not long ago when women were regarded as children and had no hope of ever being superior to a man's accomplishments. From an unwanted child and pending abortion to the insanity of a women imprisoned in her home, both Ernest Hemingway and Charlotte Perkins Gilman use women with docile dispositions and tired characters in order to display the effects of the male superiority on the female figure.

In both "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "Hills Like White Elephants" women struggle with the over-powering male decision maker in their lives. In "The Yellow Wallpaper" the main character, who later in the story assumes the name Jane, is struggling with her husband diagnoses for her case of "temporary nervous depression" (1). In the 1800s women were employed, as wives, to care for children and cook the meals. Women listened and obeyed their husbands, as the man knew no wrong. Jane believes that "excitement and change" (1) would be beneficial to her health, but her husband, John, prescribes rest and seclusion from the rest of the world - so she listens to the ever-powerful...