The Yellow Wallpaper
Anna Autrey Nancy Risch ENG 232 13 June 2013 The Not-so-Mellow Men in Yellow A contemporary reader’s analyses of “The Yellow Wall-Paper” will be established in the reader’s set of existing beliefs, knowledge and understanding of the age of the story, and a fundamental understanding of the author. Any history or prior-knowledge a reader has of the author’s individual life will assist them clearly recognize any predispositions or overtly stressed out generalizations of that author’s characters.
When reading the work of a “social reformer” and “psychologically chaotic” author, such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman, an unknowing or uneducated reader will, many always, miss out on the intended plots, symbols, and under-currents of the work reading (“Charlotte” n. p. ). In “The Yellow Wall-Paper” a contemporary reader will immediately identify that Gilman portrays her male characters with a component of apparent bias, nevertheless, relatively so.
By having the ability to see what her reality was then, versus current day truth, a client of this work should acknowledge that the prejudiced nature of her representation of males was not only justified, but indispensable to the worthiness of the literary work today. Equipped with the approval of Gilman’s biased male characters in “The Yellow Wall-Paper”, it is critically important for modern readers to understand why she is biased against guys, what affect her feminist attitude had on this story, and how the prejudiced representation of her male characters helped make this short story its reputation and awards.
To understand the feminist and biased nature of Gilman towards the male characters in “The Yellow Wall-Paper”, one must understand her history and experiences. Born in the nineteenth century, Gilman, then Perkins, was deserted by her daddy as a very young kid. With few choices, her mother was thrust into an atmosphere of poverty, where worry, worry, and emotional deficiency dictated how she was able to raise her family (Gilman 664).
Any child exposed to desertion by their dad, the presumed first and essential guy a child will understand, at such an early age would adopt the concept that females are self-sufficient and guys are unneeded. This is where Gilman’s prejudice versus males got its roots, but not where it ended. Years later on, tainted with what many called “mental anxiety”, Gilman suffered through a failed marital relationship and much insensitivity to her brilliant released works by male publishers and male readers of “higher-thinking”.
They challenged Gilman’s talents and her smart and practical writings, further growing her prejudices towards males (Haney-Peritz 113). In search of stability, identity, and self-worth, Gilman’s natural dispositions and talents for art and writing became her outlet and her desire. They even made her the label, according to Carolina Nunez-Puente, of “one of the earliest sociologists in the United States” (139 ). This seldom used the male reader of her period any factor to offer benefit or proper credit to her writings.
Though not genuinely or officially informed, Gilman had always achieved success with words and art and she used these tools to compose “with purpose” and with little regard to how the male world saw her (Nunez-Puente 139). She rebelled against the typical nineteenth century “rest-cure” for her mental disorder and raced bountifully towards the “self-expression and intellectual growth” that released her. In her brand-new found flexibility, she rallied for women’s rights and begged for social justice. In 1900, she married once again, this time to a man who shared her beliefs and did not stifle her vigor for feminist propensities.
Her works were being released more, and finally, she had a platform from which to lecture her feminist concepts. In Anthology of American Literature, one checks out For five years in the 1890’s, Charlotte Perkins Gilman visited America as a lecturer, arguing that ladies were controlled by their dads and partners, that women were allured by their innocence and their training. She firmly insisted that home was regularly a jail than a shelter, and she motivated ladies to assert their rights and complimentary themselves from unthinking commitment to cooking, cleansing, church, and kids (665 ).
No other collection of words or sentences might potentially sum up why Gilman felt biases against males and why her reasonable works reeked of feminism and an unashamed recognition of her own predisposition in her characters in “The Yellow Wall-Paper.” The influence of Gilman’s negatively portrayed male characters guided the extremely story, plot, and tone of “The Yellow Wall-Paper”. In stark contrast to what was expected of a female of the 19th century, Gilman chose the rockier course of realism in her writing, which exposed the manipulative and possessive methods of guys of that period.
Without her truths surrounding 19th century males, “The Yellow Wall-Paper” would have had no shape or girth at all. Practically immediately, Gilman tosses open the doors of her predisposition against guys in this story. On the extremely first page she makes three very definitive declarations that support this: “John laughs at me, obviously, however one expects that in marital relationship … My sibling is also a doctor, and also of high standing, and he says the very same thing … Personally, I disagree with their ideas” (Gilman 666).
So, from the beginning, a reader knows the main character, the storyteller, is kept back by the men in her life. Also, in a fantastic ploy of genius, Gilman disregards to offer her primary character a name, strengthening the concept to her reader that men don’t truly “recognize” women, so why would she. The irresponsible and dismissive treatment that John and the narrator’s own brother reveal her, unfortunately leads her down a progressively dark roadway of depression and insanity.
As Amy Hudock mentions in Masterplots II: Women’s Literature Series, “Gilman tries to caution her readership that denying ladies full humankind is dangerous to women, family, and society as an entire” (3 ). For Gilman’s age, “The Yellow Wall-Paper” was not only inadequately received by men, but it was so viewed because of how efficiently it portrayed males’s behaviors at the time. Gilman’s biased nature versus male flows on all pages of this work and clearly guides the messages and plots she fluidly reveals.
Knowing that Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-Paper” was not well received in her period, one should question if it would have ever acquired its much was worthy of literary accolades in more current times if it was not so rich with biases and feminist views. When initially released, the story’s feminist plunge had gone totally unremarked and extremely disregarded (Haney-Peritz 113). It was not till the 1970’s, with the dawn of feminist subsidy, that literary critics began to understand the importance of the social, cultural, and political ramifications Gilman soaked “The Yellow Wall-Paper” in.
Since that time, feminist scholars have noted that the story is a picture-perfect representation of a society where women’s intelligence, mental significance, and innovative genius was detered and stunted, likely in wish to keep women submissive to guys, in general (Hudock 3). With such strides in females’s rights and feminism and the approval and normality of women as equates to given that the writing of this work, one can not argue that the vibrant and unwavering stance Gilman took with “The Yellow Wall-Paper” is the core of why it has actually been recognized, granted, and valued as a much reputable and loved literary masterpiece.
Gilman was a real touchstone for females activists and female extreme authors of her time. With bit more than a label of “mental disorder” and a heart loaded with hope and foresight, Charlotte Perkins Gilman composed “The Yellow Wall-Paper” with such realism and reality that it stuck her with a defiant tag till decades after her death. As modern readers, all who partake in the journey that is “The Yellow Wall-Paper” will have a real sense of understanding and compassion for the truth that shaped this fine lady’s words.
By valuing the author’s personal history and background, understanding how her representation of male characters enhanced her work, and seeing how Gilman’s feministic views and biased representation of guys in “The Yellow Wall-Paper” ultimately resulted in its acknowledgment and high acclaim, modern readers will have a richer gratitude for this great author as a lady, a victim of mental illness, and a remarkable realist author and feminist activist of her time. Works Cited “Charlotte Perkins Gilman”. 2013. The Bio Channel Site. Web. 13 June 2013. Gilman, Charlotte. “The Yellow Wall-Paper”. Anthology of American Literature, 10. Ed. George McMichael and James S. Leonard. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. (2011 ): 663-675. Print. Haney-Peritz, Janice. “Huge Feminism And Literature’s Ancestral House: Another Look At ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper’. “Women’s Studies 12. 2 (1986 ): 113-128. Literary Recommendation Center Plus. Web. 11 June 2013. Hudock, Amy E. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Masterplots II: Women’s Literature Series (1995 ): 1-3. Literary Referral Center Plus. Web. 11 June 2013. Nunez-Puente, Carolina. “The Yellow Hybrids: Gender And Category in Gilman’s Wallpaper.” DQR Research Studies In Literature 49. 1 (2012 ): 139-153. Literary Recommendation Center Plus. Web. June 11 2013.