The Yellow Wallpaper via American Horror Story

Essay by 0321repCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2014

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"The Yellow Wallpaper", written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is an interesting short story that tells the events of a wife as she is removed from her normal life in hopes to cure her so-called illness. Her husband puts her into a new house that he proclaims will help her illness, however his methods have the complete opposite effect. This story is very similar to the first season of a television show called "American Horror Story," where the Harmon family moves into a new mysterious house that takes advantage of the family, especially the wife, Vivien. In The Yellow Wallpaper," the wife projects herself as a woman "trapped" in the wallpaper, which is similar to the numerous souls trapped in the house and Vivien's feeling of the houses possession over her. Also in both the short story as well as the show the husband and wife are portrayed in parallel ways, experiencing androcentric themes, ostracization of characters and the use of hegemony to dehumanize the wife's character.

In the beginning, the Harmon's move into a haunted house where weird things begin to occur. From the start Vivien tells her husband, Ben Harmon that she has strange feelings about the house, but his androcentric behavior peaks through and he completely ignores her and goes on as he pleases. This is very similar to how the doctor treats his wife in "The Yellow Wallpaper." As the series rolls on, Vivien begins to experience these trapped souls. She starts begging to her husband, and reaching out to other characters proclaiming that she is seeing figures around the house, but no one listens. This is the beginning of her alienation. In both works, the husbands are distinguished Doctors, which add to the hegemony of medicine and "the doctor...