Women are usually portrayed in the society in positions, which are mainly dominated by men. In the 19th century, women were repressed by their husbands and other male influences. The husbands took a leading role in a marriage. "The Yellow Wallpaper" a story written by Charlotte Perkins narrates a story of a woman who underwent psychological difficulties from her husband in the 1800s. There is gender division in the story since the women are portrayed as second-class citizens since they are only limited to handle domestic chores. Men on the other side take on the "active works."
Most women are not allowed to creep in daylight, and they need only to hide in the shadows and try to move without them being noticed. The window no longer functions as a gateway for a woman. She is not able to enter on either side of it without being seen. Women struggle with obstacles in a patriarchal society (Ghandeharion and Mazari, 34). According to Trifles, women who were married started to become more independent, and they wanted to become equal as men instead of them being the inferior part. Women earned only half to two-thirds of what men used to receive. Men were considered the breadwinners of the family. The job of women in a marriage was to bear children and look after the homestead. Men were involved in challenging and physically demanding jobs than their wives.
"The Yellow Wallpaper" story shows that marriage is more of a prison than a homestead to a woman. The room in which John and her wife shares during a night have been used symbolically to represent how a woman can be confined to a prison-like environment in a marriage situation (Ghandeharion and Mazari, 32). They shared a room, which might have been a nursery classroom. However, the way the room was designed, seemed to be more of a prison than somewhere children could spend their day playing (Hilton 12). The windows were grilled with bars, their bed was nailed on the floor and at the top of the stairs leading outside, and there was a gate. Women were alienated from the freedom, which they needed to enjoy. Susan Glaspell's play Trifles brings out the facts that women are being monitored even in their homes (Hilton, 23). They are being patronized by men who ridicule their concerns. The women on the other side underrate their roles in marriage as relatively not important.
Symbolism has been used in to bring out the theme of feminism. The wallpaper, in particular, has been used to show the trap many women have been subjected to in their domestic life. The wallpaper first looked like an unpleasant, unclean and soiled piece. Its pattern as the woman struggled to understand it represented the family structure, tradition, medicine in which the woman has found herself trapped.
In conclusion, the irony comes out when the narrator, who is the woman, gains some insight and power only to lose her reasoning and self-control. In the play Trifles, Mrs. Wright is used symbolically. She is not witnessed, but she is recognized. Her past has been forgotten altogether. This condition relates to how women role in the society is ignored. The birdcage symbolizes her life. The quilt is an essential clue to how she was killed. The rocking chair symbolized how her life importance diminished throughout her lifetime.
Ghandeharion, A. and Mazari, M. Women Entrapment and Flight in Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper." Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses, (29). 2016
Hilton, L. Trifles, by Susan Glaspell. Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, 21(1), pp.147-149. 2016.
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