For the first time I think all year I feel like I had some understanding of the topic of our reading before hand. While having some idea of the reality of gender roles in America today, I did not have the perspective or the understanding of gender roles and the toxicity that existed in the nine-tenth century. It was arguably worse back then than it is today. I think it might feel more prevalent today because for the first time there has been a fair amount of addressing of this issue. Gender roles within households and society is simply horrible. For men, they have always been expected to be successful, brave, and rather emotionless. Women have always been expected to put their husband before them, and their children before him. On top of this they are often seen as fragile and emotional. The problem of mental illness is something that is so severe today, and as the narrator describes in The Yellow Wallpaper, it was back then as well.
Coming from a family with extensive mental illness I was able to really connect with this story. I can feel her pain. I think anytime a writer can enable the reader to enter into the headspace of their characters, they have done something masterful. The societal expectations of both men and women, & husband and wife alone are at great fault for contributing to the unhappiness and dysfunction within relationships and households. I have a great deal of admiration for women, I feel like it is really evident that their role in society does not accurately reflect their values or what they are capable of.